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Catholic Church warning against mafia salutes during Easter Week

by Hannah Tooley

During Easter Week traditional processions march through towns carrying statues of the Madonna or saints. In the past people have stopped in front of well-known mafia homes and dipped holy statues as a sign of respect.

The most recent case was last July when a procession in Calabria performed a detour and saluted outside the house of mob boss Giuseppe Mazzagatti, 82, who is serving a life sentence under house arrest. This came a month after the Pope said all mafiosi were excommunicated from the Church.

As Holy Week begins bishops have been told to watch out for mafia sympathisers who might try and pay tribute to mob members.

Bishop Luigi Renzo of the diocese of Mileto-Tropea-Nicotera in Calabria said processions should stop outside old people's homes or hospices to bless them but nowhere else.

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