POPE FRANCIS: FREE THE FIGURE OF MARY FROM THE INFLUENCE OF THE MAFIA
The Italian language site of Vatican News posted a story today about a letter Pope Francis wrote to the International Pontifical Marian Academy in which he addresses the issue of freeing the figure of Mary from the influence of the mafia. The Holy Father stressed that, “Marian devotion is a religious-cultural heritage to be safeguarded in its original purity, freeing it from superstructures, powers or conditioning that do not meet the evangelical criteria of justice, freedom, honesty and solidarity”.
The Pontiff noted that the Department of analysis and study of criminal and mafia phenomena was created within this papal academy “to free the figure of the Madonna from the influence of criminal organizations.” Examples of this distorted spirituality include the “bowing down” before statues of Mary in front of the homes of mafia bosses during processions.
In his letter, Pope Francis greeted the promoters, speakers and participants in the study day scheduled for September 18 that has been organized by the International Pontifical Marian Academy in collaboration with ecclesiastical authorities and public institutions. The aim of the initiative is to identify “effective responses” for a necessary “cultural awareness raising operation.”
Francis expressed the hope that Marian shrines will become more and more “citadels of prayer, centers of action of the Gospel, places of conversions, cornerstones of Marian piety.”
Fr. Cecchin gave an interview in Italian to Vatican News: https://www.vaticannews.va/it/papa/news/2020-08/papa-francesco-lettera-accademia-mariana-intervista-cecchin.html