Pope Francis: to the members of the Anti-mafia Investigation Department (DIA), corruption, extortions, drug and arms dealings, human trade are “social plagues”

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VATICAN CITY, VATICAN – MARCH 27: Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he drives around St Peter’s Square ahead of his first weekly general audience as pope on March 27, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pope Francis held his weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square today (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

“Mafia, camorra and ‘ndrangheta, by exploiting economic, social and political deficiencies, find fertile ground to achieve their deplorable plans”. This was reported by the Pope, who gave audience to the members of the italian Anti-mafia Investigation and Anti-Terrorism Department (DIA) in the Consistory Hall earlier today 23 january 2017. “One of your responsibilities is fighting terrorism, which is becoming more and more cosmopolitan and devastating”, Francis went on as he expressed his “appreciation of and encouragement for your work that is difficult, risky but more essential than ever to redeem and free people from the power of the criminal organisations, which commit blood-stained abuse and crimes”. “Society needs to be freed from corruption, extortions, drug and arm dealings, human trade, with so many enslaved children”, the Pope warned: “They are veritable social plagues as well as global challenges that the international community is called to firmly deal with”. Hence the importance of engaging in “such fight, in cooperation with their international counterparts”, as DIA does: “Such work, if carried out in synergism and with concrete means, is an effective dam and a safety measure for the community”, Francis honoured them.

“I beg the fair and merciful God to touch the hearts of the men and women of the different mafias, that they may stop, end hurting people, convert themselves, and change their lives”. This is the appeal that closed the Pope’s speech to the members of the Anti-mafia Investigation and Anti-Terrorism Department (DIA). “Money from dirty dealings and mafia crimes is bloody money and produces unfair power”, Francis warned: “And everybody knows that the devil gets in through the pockets; it is there that the first corruption happens”, he added, off the cuff. To the people there, the Pope asked to “go on, not lose heart, but keep fighting corruption, abuse, mafia and terrorism”. “I am aware of the fact that your job involves risking your lives or other dangers, for you and for your families”, Francis admitted: “I know this – he added, off the cuff –, and I know there are other risks and dangers too, for you and for your families. The mafia’s behaviour does this. “That’s why your job needs extra passion, sense of duty and mental strength”, the Pope went on: “And so do we, all of us residents who benefit from your work”, he also added, still off the cuff. “Rest assured that I am really very close to you, in your work, and I pray for you”, Francis said twice, also off the cuff, ensuring the magistrates of his “support, prayers and sympathy” according SIR agency (http://agensir.it/quotidiano/2017/1/23/papa-francesco-a-membri-dia-fenomeno-mafioso-e-da-osteggiare-e-da-combattere/ ).

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