Pope Francis caused a stir over the weekend when he took aim at the Italian mafia, saying, “Those who in their lives follow this path of evil, as mafiosi do, are not in communion with God. They are excommunicated.” Although many focused on the “excommunicated” part, the fact is, the Catholic Church banishes individuals, not entire groups. Francis was simply using poetic license, saying that those who do evil unofficially excommunicate themselves.
In light of the pope’s condemnation of one of the most storied crime syndicates in history, some reputable news sites have raised the possibility of a mafia hit on Francis à la The Godfather Part III, where John Paul I is poisoned to death by that no good swindling scumbag Archbishop Gilday, who shortly thereafter meets his own demise:
As dramatic as the thought of the mafia taking out a pope may be, it is not going to happen. While the organization hasn’t been above murdering men of the cloth, the killing of those outside of Cosa Nostra is generally an absolute last resort, and doing so often comes at a price. If the mafia ever had the coglioni to murder this pope or any other, it would be the end of them. It would be like Kim Jong-un dropping a nuclear bomb on Seoul. North Korea would incur unprecedented wrath and cease to exist within about 45 minutes.
This is because the mafia operates in large part thanks to a fair amount goodwill and tacit acceptance by those outside of it. And in Italy of all places, there really would be no better way to squander it than by murdering the head of the Catholic Church and a guy who poses for pictures with adorable goats. There would be unprecedented international outcry. The Italian government would be forced to bring the hammer down. Thousands of old Italian ladies armed with rolling pins would descend upon Sicily looking to club every made guy on the island. It would not end well for Cosa Nostra.
So that’s why when Pope Francis goes, it won’t be at the hands of organized crime. And if you must indulge this possibility, I’m sorry that your only real option is Godfather III.