Catholic Church leaders ban baptismal godparents in an Italian diocese, fearing the role is more unpleasant than sacred – and could be exploited by the Mafia.
Religious leaders in Catania have banned for three years naming godparents at baptisms this month, saying many families are enlisting local power brokers to be their children’s children. compare because they’re more interested in securing gold necklaces and networking opportunities for their families than in spiritual leadership, according to the New York Times.
Bishops and priests in the Sicilian region have also shared their concerns that the now predominantly secular custom may embolden organized crime figures, as Archbishop Giuseppe Fiorini Morosini allegedly argued in a letter to Pope Francis in 2014.
“It is an experience”, Mgr. Salvatore Genchi, the vicar general of Catania, reportedly spoke about the ban.
Although Genchi is the godfather of at least 15 godchildren, he argued that most godparents in the diocese were not made to juggle so much responsibility, according to the article.
Reverend Angelo Alfio Mangano, of the Church of Saint Mary of Ognina in Catania, told The Times he approved the new ban because he no longer had to deal with “threats against the priest” from dubious characters who sometimes used the post for social blackmail and usury.
Former Sicilian President Salvatore Cuffaro, godfather of “roughly 20” children, who has already served five years in prison for reporting a Mafia donation to government surveillance, told The Times he was dealing with the issue. sacrament with reverence.
“Despite what some priests think, I paid attention to all my baptismal godchildren,” Cuffaro reportedly said, adding that he had only accepted about one in 20 requests to represent children at baptisms.
Cuffaro, who is nicknamed “Kiss Kiss” for his intimate greetings, said no member of the Mafia has ever served as a religious godfather on Italy’s “boot”, according to the article.
“At least in Sicily, where I lived, that does not exist”, he would have declared. “It’s just a religious bond; there are no links of illegality.
The ban would have put a damper on the lively and opulent baptismal celebrations in the Sicilian region.
“It’s shocking,” Jalissa Testa, 21, reportedly said at the baptism of her son in Catania on the first Sunday of the embargo on godparents.
“In our hearts we know, and they will know, that he has a godfather. “
In the nearby town of Aci Trezza, where residents of Catania sneak up to be baptized, the diocese of Reverend Giovanni Mammino demands that godparents swear they were believers and not figures in organized crime, according to the article. .
“They keep coming here to get sponsors,” Mammino reportedly said.
Nicola Sparti, 24, traveled to Aci Trezza to take photos with her newly baptized son in front of sea rocks the Cyclops allegedly threw at Odysseus, according to the report.
As toddler Antonio climbed into a small, remote-controlled white Mercedes, Sparti reportedly ignored the new rule.
“One day the godfather is there and the next day he’s gone. But a father is forever.
Antonio’s uncle Alfio Motta, 22, is said to have had a different opinion.
“I feel like the godfather,” Motta told the newspaper. “Even though I don’t have the title.”