Pope Francis: Mafia Profits During a Pandemic

UMMATIMES - Pope Francis invites citizens around the world to fight organized crime that takes advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic for personal gain. According to him, the mafia has not stopped taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and it is feared that it will take advantage of the vaccination campaign as well.

"The mafia is present in all corners of the world and is taking advantage of the pandemic via corruption to enrich themselves," Pope Francis said at a memorial service to the victims of organized crime, last Sunday, March 21, 2021.

In Italy, the mafia capitalizing on the COVID-19 pandemic is no stranger. Since the COVID-19 pandemic exploded, the mafia has targeted businesses and families who are struggling with the economy by offering fast loans with high interest rates. With the economy being hit by social restrictions or even lockdowns, using the mafia "aid" has become unavoidable.

To facilitate its "business", it is not uncommon for the Italian mafia to also use religious symbols. The goal is that people see them as saviors.

In 2014, the town in southern Italy called Oppido Mamertina was in the spotlight when a local resident carried a statue of the Virgin Mary to herd the congregation to the home of a mafia boss. And, once in front of the boss's house, the statue is slightly lowered so that it looks as if it is giving respect.

Last December, Interpol issued a global warning that criminal organizations began eyeing a COVID-19 vaccination campaign. One of them happened in March, where the South African Police secured hundreds of fake COVID-19 vaccines.

"Organized crime is a structured sin. The Mafia goes against religious teachings and misunderstands worship as a belief," Pope Francis stressed.