The Pope's one day visit to Italy's southern region of Calabria, was marked by his strong words against the mafia. Condemning the adoration of evil, power and money, the Pope had this to say to mobsters.
"The mafia is not in communion with God, they are excommunicated. Today we profess this before the presence of Corpus Christi, the Blessed Sacrament, exposed in the altar.”
The region of Calabria, has a history of violence which is underlined by the local mafia. It's a link said the Pope, that's connected to an obsession for power, vanity and money.
"When the adoration of Our Lord is replaced by the adoration of money, it leads down a path of sin, personal interests and power.”
Roughly 200,000 people were expected in the open air Mass, were temperatures rose to over 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Sitting in the front row, were the sick and the disabled instead of dignitaries.
The Pope called on the faithful and the local Church to embrace practical solidarity to help the community. He also underlined that children in the region, deserve a future that's not tainted by violence and corruption.
"I've said it so many times and I'll say it again. Don't let your hope to be robbed from you.”
At the end of the Corpus Christi Mass, the Pope greeted local authorities, before leaving the small town of Sibari, in a helicopter, as the locals cheered him on.