BOOM: Pugnacious Pope Francis Calls Out the Mafia

(FILES) Picture dated 18 April 2005 of Argentina's cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio who has been elected on March 13, 2013 to replace the frail Benedict XVI as leader of the world's 1.2 billon Catholics as tens of thousands cheer in St Peter's Square.  AFP PHOTO MARCO LONGARIMARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty ImagesPope Francis has hailed a priest murdered by the Sicilian Mafia and urged mobsters to stop exploiting people in criminal rackets including prostitution.

The pontiff exhorted Mafiosi to change their ways, issuing the call Sunday, a day after the beatification of an Italian priest in Palermo who was slain in 1993 by mobsters after he defiantly preached against the Mafia in a neighborhood where Cosa Nostra held sway.

Francis told a crowd in St. Peter’s Square the Mafia killed the Rev. Giuseppe Puglisi because he tried to keep youths from being recruited by mobsters. He said it pains him when he thinks of all the people exploited by organized crime. Mobsters control rackets for prostitution, trafficking in illegal immigration and other forms of slavery.

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