Pope to Wash Feet of Mafia Snitches During Holy Week Ceremony

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"Everyone has the right to make a mistake We have all been mistaken in one way or another," Pope Francis said in reference to prisoners in an interview published Thursday in the Repubblica daily ahead of a Thursday Holy Week ceremony.

More specifically he was talking about former Italian Mafia figures-turned snitches (informants).

The closed-door ceremony will have Pope Francis kneel before a small group of prisoners, pour water over their feet and then kiss them as part of an age-old Easter tradition.

Among the group of convicts, some 50 former mafiosi who made deals with anti-mafia prosecutors with information in exchange for shorter prison sentence.

"Everyone has the right to make a mistake. We have all been mistaken in one way or another," Francis said.

The rite, performed yearly on Maundy or Holy Thursday, commemorates Jesus Christ's Last Supper with the apostles.

In recent years, Pope Francis has been especially outspoken against the Italian Mafia, so much so that some feared for his safety.

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The death of a three-year-old in 2014, a result of Italy's Mafia violence, shocked the nation

n 2014, during a visit with victims of Mafia violence, Pope Francis referred to the criminal syndicate as ”the adoration of evil and contempt for common good".

That same year Fortune ranked Italy’s Camorra crime family, with approximate revenues of $4.9 billion, as the 3rd most feared in the world after the Russian and Japanese mob.

From Fortune:

While the Italian-American mafia has been severely weakened in recent decades by law enforcement, the Italian mafia in the old country is still running strong. Despite years of efforts from citizens, journalists, and government officials, the local governments in Italy remain linked to and protective of various mafia groups, to the point where a 2013 study from the Università Cattolica and the Joint research Centre on Transnational Crime estimated that mafia activities generate revenue of $33 billion dollars, mostly divided among Italy's four major mafia gangs.

Camorra is the most successful of these groups, raking in an estimated $4.9 billion per year on everything from "sexual exploitation, firearms trafficking, drugs, counterfeiting, gambling ... usury and extortion," according to the report.

Italy’s Ndrangheta ranked 4th.  This criminal organization deals mostly in the illegal drug trade and enjoys a more expansive enterprise beyond Italy.  In recent years, the Ndrangheta has helped to prop up the Gambino and Bonnano crime families in New York

- Alejandro Botticelli, Gambling911.com

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