FaithWorld

Pope dismays anti-Mafia activists on Sicily visit with scant mention of crime mob

falconePope Benedict said on Sunday the Mafia represented “a path of death” that Sicily’s young should shun but he dismayed activists who said he was too timid and should have given the crime group a moral hammering.

Benedict, making his first visit to Sicily as pope, celebrated an open-air mass for more than 200,000 people near the Sicilian capital’s port and then later addressed a rally of tens of thousands of young people. (Photo: Pope Benedict at a memorial in Palermo commemorating Italian judge Giovanni Falcone, killed in 1992 by the Mafia, October 3, 2010/Osservatore Romano)

The pope mentioned the Mafia only in that sentence of his two-page speech to the young people, which was centered on family values, and in a speech to bishops in which he mentioned that a priest, Pino Puglisi, had been killed by the mob in 1993.

“While it is good that he used the word, I don’t understand this timid way of approaching the issue,” Rita Borsellino, whose brother Paolo, a leading anti-Mafia magistrate, was killed by a Mafia car bomb in Palermo in 1992, told Reuters. “I was expecting him to develop the theme much more, especially in his address to the young people,” she said.

On a visit to the Sicilian city of Agrigento in 1993, John Paul improvised a scathing, specific attack on the Mafia which has gone down in anti-Mafia history and is etched in the memory of many Sicilians.

Excerpts from Pope Benedict’s speech to British society

westminster pope (Photo: Pope Benedict speaks in Westminster Hall in London September 17, 2010/Tim Ireland)

Pope Benedict addressed British society on Friday in a speech in Westminster Hall and argued that faith and reason are not in conflict.

Here are excerpts from the pope’s speech:

“…I recall the figure of Saint Thomas More, the great English scholar and statesman, who is admired by believers and non-believers alike for the integrity with which he followed his conscience, even at the cost of displeasing the sovereign whose “good servant” he was, because he chose to serve God first. The dilemma which faced More in those difficult times, the perennial question of the relationship between what is owed to Caesar and what is owed to God, allows me the opportunity to reflect with you briefly on the proper place of religious belief within the political process…

“…Britain has emerged as a pluralist democracy which places great value on freedom of speech, freedom of political affiliation and respect for the rule of law, with a strong sense of the individual’s rights and duties, and of the equality of all citizens before the law. While couched in different language, Catholic social teaching has much in common with this approach, in its overriding concern to safeguard the unique dignity of every human person, created in the image and likeness of God, and in its emphasis on the duty of civil authority to foster the common good.

POLL – Is reforming U.S. health care a moral issue?

obama-healthThe heated debate over United States health care reform revolves around practical issues like its expected costs or the government-run “public option.” But when President Barack Obama addressed Congress on the issue, he quoted a letter from the late Senator Ted Kennedy saying: “What we face is above all a moral issue; at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.” (Photo: President Obama addressing Congress, 9 Sept 2009/Jason Reed)

Religious leaders and politicians supporting health care reform sometimes frame the issue in moral terms. But the term “moral” rarely pops up in the Washington debate and — apart from the Kennedy quote — it didn’t figure in Obama’s speech either. The president did discuss the issue of character, which is a moral term, and used the word often enough for it to appear in the Wordle web cloud below. But he avoided repeating what might be considered a religiously loaded word in a crucial political speech.

What do you think?

poll by twiigs.com

Here’s the word cloud of Obama’s speech. Even “character” is pretty hard to find (click to enlarge the image).