Frontline priest stands tall against Mafia death threats

Fr Ciotti with Francis

A priest at the frontline of the battle against the Mafia has said death threats made against him by criminal overlord Salvatore “Toto” Riina will not frighten him into retreat, reports The Tablet.

During a conversation last September that was recorded using a wiretap, Riina, once the most powerful member of the Sicilian Mafia, allegedly said that Fr Luigi Ciotti was “a copy” of Blessed Pino Puglisi, a priest and activist who was murdered by the Mafia in 1993 and recently beatified.

“Ciotti, Ciotti, well kill him", he said, according to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. Riina is currently serving a prison sentence for multiple murders.

Fr Ciotti, who founded the anti-Mafia group Libera, told La Repubblica the threats were “very significant” in a statement, adding that they were directed towards anyone who was committed to justice and integrity.

"For me, the commitment (to fight organised crime) has always been an act of faith in the Gospel, to denounce injustice and violence, to stand on the side of the victims, the poor, the excluded," he added.

In June, Pope Francis launched an attack on the Italian Mafia, saying that mobsters adore evil and are excommunicated.

Read full article: Campaigning priest defiant in face of Mafia death threats (The Tablet)


Italian bishops express solidarity for Father Ciotti (

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