VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) –– The Vatican has reportedly quashed its much-lauded working group formed to tackle the issue of excommunicating Mafia members, with sources stating that there was “strong resistance” from the Roman Curia to the group’s activity.
La Croix reported recently that several Vatican sources had provided information pertaining to the quiet halting of the Vatican’s working group on the Mafia. The group was formed in May 2021, named the “Working Group on the ‘excommunication of the mafias,’” and was established in light of the beatification of Rosario Livatino, a magistrate killed by the Sicilian Mafia in 1990.
Working under the auspices of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the working group were billed as having the aim of “studying the issue in depth, collaborating with the Bishops of the world, promoting and supporting related initiatives.”
A small but expert team, the working group is composed of just eight members: Giuseppe Pignatone, president of Vatican City state tribunal, joined other notable anti-Mafia lay and clerical activists.
But writing July 4, La Croix wrote that the group had been stalled for “several months.” This was due to internal opposition from figures within the Vatican, the outlet wrote, citing internal sources.
Part of the group’s task was to compile a document with proposals on how to address the issue of Mafia members presence in, and attempts to control, the Catholic Church at various levels.
Such a task was assisted through the cooperation of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.
The working group’s document was reportedly ready even by late 2021 and included suggestions to alter Canon Law and outline procedures by which the Vatican might excommunicate Mafia members.
According to La Croix’s sources, the document was never delivered to Pope Francis, with the reason not appearing clear. Some sources reportedly cited “strong resistance” from the Curia to the document, and another source stated that the group’s requested papal audience “was never granted.”
Still another source from one of the three Vatican Curial bodies involved reportedly stated that “continuing along this path meant having to be exemplary internally. It also meant being prepared to debate the suspicions of corruption within the Vatican itself.”
Speaking about the group in May 2021, one of its members, Vittorio Alberti, stated that it would not be enough to just “publish documents.” “We must arrive before the mafia, not after it,” Alberti stated, adding that the group met formally once a month, with more frequent communication between members outside meetings.
With the group’s recommendations assembled so swiftly, Alberti’s words would appear to have been acted upon, as the working group looked to practically effect the changes that it had been tasked with providing.
But two years on, reports suggest that the efficacy of the working group was perhaps more than the Vatican had anticipated.
Speaking to La Croix, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development insisted that the group had not been suspended. Instead, an official argued that the individual from “the dicastery who was in charge of it was seconded to the Pontifical Gregorian University for three years. When that person returns, we’ll see about the continuation of the research.”
LifeSite contacted the Dicastery as well as the address provided for the working group itself. This report will be updated upon receipt of a response.