Catholic Church under fire for Mafia funerals

Mafia critics are wondering if the Catholic funeral mass for Vito Rizzuto on Dec. 30 was appropriate, given the way the late Mafia boss made his living.

They say the Church is sending the wrong message by presiding over funerals of known criminals and think should refuse to perform them.

But others don't think it's the Church's position to judge others.

They say only God can pass judgment after a person's death.

Retired priest and former CJAD host Father John Walsh says the Church has to hold out hope that no one is irredeemable.

"These people are not doing good for society and we have to condemn what they're doing, and yet on the other hand as a Catholic I have to say that [Rizzuto] is still a child of God and hope for conversion of his heart somewhere along the line," he says.

Other jurisdictions aren't so forgiving.

A bishop in Sicily, the Mafia's birthplace, said last summer that being a Christian and having Mafia links are incompatible.

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  1. joeN posted on 01/08/2014 04:05 PM
    As long as the parishoners pay their annual Church Tax (a.k.a la dieme) they get the services. So the Church is no different from business or government, you pay you get.
    What is appaling is that this person received full rites whereas his alleged victims may not have.
  2. Mark posted on 01/09/2014 01:56 PM
    My parents, sister, and I were all married in this church. When my first child was born, we wanted to have him baptized there as well. Even though my brother-in-law (my son's Godfather), was married in this church, he was not Catholic. Therefore, my son was refused baptism by the church because his Godfather was Protestant!

    Shortly thereafter, Nick Rizutto had his funeral there. And, now his father.

    My understanding is that you can be a criminal, thief, and murderer, and be accepted by God; but being Catholic with a Protestant Godfather is unforgivable in the eyes of the Lord!

    No wonder the church has a hard time attracting younger parishioners...
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