6 Sicilian Churches Attacked in Just Over a Week

Mafia Is Among the Suspects

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ROME, MAY 31, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Authorities think the Mafia could be behind a series of recent attacks against six churches in the Sicilian capital of Palermo.

The latest attack took place late Wednesday or early Thursday. The target was the Church of the Most Holy Trinity, a historic parish whose members included two judges, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borselino, who were murdered by the Mafia.

Father Giacomo Ribaudo, the pastor, is known for his educational work among youth and for his condemnation of the Mafia «culture.»

Intruders ransacked the sacristy and entered the premises of the parish association. The thieves took about $460.

It was the sixth such attack against the city´s churches in just over a week. On Tuesday the church of the late Father Pino Puglisi was attacked. This priest, whose process of beatification is under way, was killed by the Mafia in 1993.

Police are not ruling out that the attacks could be the work of vandals, common thieves, or drug addicts.

Today, the Italian newspaper Avvenire said that in the «new Palermo» the Church is in the Mafia´s sights.

«A Church that stays inside the sacristies does not bother anyone,» the newspaper said. «If Father Puglisi had stayed in the sacristy, he would not have called attention to himself. The Mafia wants us to stay inside the parish and to dedicate ourselves to ´our affairs.´»

Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi, archbishop of Palermo, recently warned publicly about the danger of this type of attack against buildings and Church men.

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