15:15 GMT12 August 2020
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    A locale featured in the award-winning Godfather film trilogy is now home to a real-life quandary between the Roman Catholic Church and local mobsters.

    A niece of a priest in the town of Corleone, Sicily, tapped the son of Italy’s most famous mafia figure to become the child’s godfather at an upcoming baptism ceremony, and the parish priest signed off on the move. But Archbishop of the Catholic Church Michele Pennisi is up in arms over the decision.

    A godfather in the Catholic Church is intended to serve as someone of fine character and of strong faith for the recently baptized. As the bishop said, a godfather ought to be, “the guarantor of the faith, must set an example of his actions.” Pennisi’s issue with the selection, however, is that he does not know if “the young man has ever expressed words of repentance for his conduct.”

    At the end of January, Pope Francis told the Italian National Antimafia and Antiterrorism directorate that “the Mafia is an expression of the culture of death that is opposed to the Gospel,” before praying for the hearts of Mafia members.

    According to the archbishop’s office, neither the archbishop nor Vatican City was aware of the priest's decision to permit Giuseppe “Salvo” Riina to become a godfather in the Catholic Church. Salvo was released from prison in 2011, and is barred from re-entering Corleone without judicial consent.


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    mobster, godfather, Mafia, Roman Catholic Church, Michele Pennisi, Pope Francis, Italy, Vatican
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