On Sunday, May 26, 2013, Pope Francis I was in Palermo, Sicily for the beatification of the Reverend Giuseppe ‘Pino’ Puglisi who was murdered 20 years ago after preaching against the Mafia. Father Giuseppe has been declared a martyr that died while trying to prevent the youth of Sicily from joining the Mafia.
Beatification is the last step in a process that could have Father Puglisi being nominated as a saint. Since Father Puglisi has been declared a martyr, he needs to have performed one miracle to be promoted as worthy of sainthood.
During his speech honoring Father Puglisi, the Pope asked the Mafia to stop their evil deeds and ruining people’s lives. You can read the International Edition of the Herald’s Tribune’s account at http://www.herald.ie/news/popes-plea-to-mafia-in-tribute-to-slain-priest-29299707.html.
Although it has been discredited, the Pope’s plea for the Mafia to give up their evil ways seems very similar to the apocryphal account of the Children’s Crusade in 1212 A.D.
The story goes that a young Catholic charismatic male from Germany or France traveled with a group of children to the Holy Land. They children were convinced that they could convert the Muslims to Christianity through their innocence. The conclusion of the story was that the children died along the route, were enslaved, or those that were not put into prostitution were murdered.
Pope Francis is an enigma already in his brief stewardship as Pope. From an outside view, he is making the right decisions for the wrong reasons. Spiritualists are a pragmatic bunch, as is Pope Francis. We support decisions that ultimately are for the good of humanity.
His declaration that condoms can be used to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is a very practical decision given that the Catholic Church is seeing major growth in Africa, where AIDs is a huge issue. Condoms are still prohibited when used as birth control, but it is unlikely that the sperm can tell the difference.
Based upon his discussions in 2010 as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, there may be a change in policy that would allow priests to marry. He justified this as a way to reduce the shortage of priests. We see this as the humane path to allow priests to carry on normal lives, and it will reduce the temptation to engage in sexual activities with parishioners of all ages and sexes, and sexual activities with other priests.
Spiritualists generally believe that all things work for the good. We support the Pope in asking that the Mafia become kinder and gentler in carrying out its crimes. We are realistic enough to know that this is not likely. We have seen great things happen before through prayer, and we support the Pope in his efforts to have good triumph over evil.