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Rome Reports

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Pope Visits Sicily, Condemns the Mafia

And his words received much applause.

Benedict XVI

"Do not give in to the lure of the mafia, which is the path of death, incompatible with the Gospel, as many of your bishops have said."

He was speaking to a crowd of about 20 thousand young people from the island. The Pope acknowledged the courage of several victims of the Mafia, such as the priest Pino Puglisi or the Judge Rosario Livatino, both in the process of beatification.

Benedict XVI

"Dear young people of Sicily, be trees that are rooted in the "river" of good! Do not be afraid to fight evil!"

During the meeting, two youth from Sicily spoke to tthe pope on behalf of all participants.

"We will not give up the dream of a better Sicily, fertilized by the blood of many martyrs of justice and faith as Falcone, Borsellino, Don Pino Puglisi and Rosario Livatino."

"We are helped so much by the Church and our priests. The Church and our priests Feel us close to you, Holy Father. Be always close to us young people."

During his visit, the Pope?s car stopped on the highway where the mafia judge Giovanni Falcone was killed, along with four others.

The Pope laid flowers at the monument that commemorates what happened and prayed for all victims of the Mafia and organized crime.