Pope tells mafia in Calibri they are barred from Catholic Church

(Photo: REUTERS / Giampiero Sposito)Pilgrims gather to attend a mass celebrated by Pope Francis in Sibari, southern Italy, June 21, 2014. While in the region the Pope condemned actions of mobsters saying members of the mafia are excluded from the Catholic Church.

In an area where the Italian mafia is strong, Pope Francis has told mobsters straight, "They are not in communion with God, they are excommunicated," from the Catholic Church.

Francis made a one-day trip Saturday to the southern Italian region of Calabria. There he spoke out against the local mafia, deeming its acts as "adoration of evil and contempt for the common good."

The Pope was applauded when he said, "Those who in their lives have taken this evil road, this road of evil, such as the mobsters, they are not in communion with God, they are excommunicated," according to Vatican Radio.

In his homily, before an estimated 200,000 people sitting in a blazing sun at around 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) the Pope spoke about the potential for evil when the adoration of God is replaced by the worship of money.

"Your land, which so beautiful, knows the signs of the consequences of this sin," said Francis "This evil must be fought, must be expelled."

He called on the local church to expend itself even more "so that good can prevail."

The Pope made his comments while visiting Italay's southern region, where mob-related has hit the local population, including the killings of a priest and a child in recent months,  Vatican Radio reported.

The Church should use all it could to fight organized crime and Francis said. "Our children are asking for it, our young people are asking for it."

Sitting in the first rows of the crowd, were those with illness and disability, rather than local dignitaries - a decision taken by the local bishop, Vatican Radio reported.

The comments came after the Pope met the family of a three-year-old child murdered earlier in 2014. Authorities believe that the 'ndrangheta crime gang is behind the killing, in which two other people died.

The 'ndrangheta is a worldwide drug trafficking syndicate that enriches itself by extorting businesses and infiltrating public works contracts in underdeveloped Calabri, where it has a foothold.

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