While Pope Francis has bluntly called for the excommunication of mobsters before, it is the first time mafia and corruption crimes are being considered together  – not worthy of pardon because they are habitual criminal ways of life, as opposed to a single act of sin.
Within the mafia clans of Italy, but also inside the narcos culture of the Mexican and Colombian cartels, pseudo-religious rituals rich with Catholic imagery and references are an integral part of the cultural tradition.
Pope Francis railed against the mafia’s “adoration of evil and contempt for common good” in a high-profile visit to the region plagued by the brutal ‘Ndrangheta mafia organisation in 2014, declaring mobsters automatically excommunicated. Nonetheless, his remarks have failed to halt the “padrino” system of naming children after mobster godfathers or detours of religious processions in front of the homes of known mob bosses as a sign of honour. 
But in a Catholic …