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Pope urges mafia to repent, turn from path to hell

Francis tells mobsters, 'your power is bloody'

21 March, 19:33
Pope urges mafia to repent, turn from path to hell (Updates) (ANSA) - Rome, March 21 - Pope Francis urged mafia members to repent during a prayer vigil for families of victims of organized crime Friday. "Please, change your lives," urged the pope, addressing his comments to men and women in the mafia. "Repent, stop doing evil". The Friday vigil comes before a national memorial day commemorating mafia victims.

Francis warned the mafia that their power and money are "dirty" and that hell awaits if they continue on their criminal path. "The power, the money that you have now from...mafia crimes is blood money and you cannot take it to the next life".

The vigil also comes after a recent spate of violence that included the murder of a three-year-old boy in an indiscriminate revenge hit by a mafia clan on a Puglia motorway Monday night.

Before the Puglia hit, the most recent and most shocking child murder was committed in January by Calabria's 'Ndrangheta, now considered the most powerful and brutal mafia.

The charred remains of tiny toddler Nicola Campolongo, nicknamed Coco, were discovered in a burned-out car in the Calabrian town of Cassano allo Ionio on January 19.

Police said three-year-old Coco was shot in the head along with his grandfather, Giuseppe Iannicelli, and his grandfather's 27-year-old companion, in an apparent Mob hit over a drug debt.