Excommunication for drug traffic mafias?

· Conflict, Culture, Latin America, Society, Violence

Excommunication, a term with a strict Catholic relation, means a decision of the leaders of any religion to expel from its community any member or group that do not respect the doctrines or make actions against the morality of that religious system. During the Middle Age, excommunication was particularly used against writers and thinkers in Europe. The Inquisition, by its part, brought many of them to fire.

In a strong Catholic culture like Latin America, terms like excommunication could operate changes. Catholicism is a very important cultural aspect of countries like Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Peru where mafia drug leaders have their strong headquarters.

At the same time, as in the Italian case, it is possible to say that the Latin American mafias go to Mass, confess to priests their crimes and communicate. This description is well documented in a work like The Virgin of the Assassins by Colombian writer Fernando Vallejo, where it is showed the strong devotion of sicarios, hired killers, to the Virgin Mary.

In a transmission of Radio Vaticano and reported by BBC Mundo, the Spanish version of the British news agency, the Secretary of State of Vatican, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertona, said that he is worry for the effects of drug trafficking in a society like Mexico and that the Church supports the fighting of such devil.

The Cardinal, that is the most important world Catholic leader after the Pope, said that the fight against this social evil is a duty of everybody and he pointed out the consequences of violence, insecurity and impunity.

The Cardinal, who belongs to the influential order of the Salesians of Don Bosco, is going to visit Mexico as a representative of Pope Benedict XVI in the Catholic World Meeting of the Families.

When it was asked to him about the possibility to excommunicate the mafias as an instrument of dissuasion, the Cardinal said that the results could be limited, because it is a punishment only for those with a conscience of Church belonging.

He said that the contribution of the Catholic Church is through education of the conscience in order to prevent the youth from being slaves of drugs.

The government of president Felipe Calderón declared a total war on criminal drug groups. It caused a rise of violence in the country in the last years that worries humanitarian organizations. Mexico has been a key bridge in the continental passing of the drug trafficking from South to North America. Kidnapping and murders are the most traditional crimens shown by the reign of mafias.

If the Church has been able to excommunicate writers and even artists, it would be logic to excommunicate murderers who abuse the faith and dishonor the Church.

Cardinal Bertone will meet president Calderón in his visit to Mexico.

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