Bishop of Acireale: “No funerals for unrepentant mafiosi”

Not only does the fight against the mafia require denunciation, but also a clear “taking of distance”. At the conference in Palermo on the massacres of 1993, Monsignor Antonino Raspanti, bishop of Acireale, once again refuses any dialogue with members of Cosa Nostra. He recalls that in October 1982, the conference of Sicilian bishops expressed a condemnation equivalent to excommunication. In 1993, Pope John Paul II added invective against the mafiosi, and two years later the mafia killed Father Pino Puglisi. Recently, bishops and parish priests have condemned the “bows” to saints in processions and the stops in front of the houses of mafiosi. Monsignor Raspanti himself issued a decree a few years ago denying religious funerals (which has happened three times in his case) to people convicted of mafia crimes who died without asking for forgiveness: for them, the funeral becomes a moment of ostentation of power. The denial of funerals is a message, he says, that “is in line with the evangelical message” and aligns with the judgments of the judiciary, culture, and the media. Moreover, the refusal of religious funerals comes precisely from a character of great criminal influence like Matteo Messina Denaro, who did not want religious celebrations because they were conducted by “filthy men who live in hatred and sin”. The choices of many men of the Church regarding the mafia, according to the bishop, fall within the “ecclesial praxis” of not estranging oneself from civil society and of maintaining the “teaching of faithfulness”. And the mafia is outside the evangelical message.

Il vescovo di Acireale: «Niente funerali ai mafiosi non pentiti»

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