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The Sicilian Renaissance Institute

Villa Virginia - Via Dante 159 I 90141 Palermo - Italy

The role of religious experiences
The Sicilian case

The Sicilian Renaissance Institute


- Introduction The Sicilian Cart by Leoluca Orlando - Preface The need for "antimafia pastoral" by Cardinal Salvatore Pappalardo - Promotion of a culture of lawfulness The contribution of Sicily's Catholic community by Mons. Salvatore Di Cristina - Palermo's "Segno" by Nino Fasullo - What model of Church to face the Mafia by Cosimo Scordato The Sicilian Reinassance Institute Statement of purpose Biographies

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a foundation — The Sicilian Renaissance Institute — has come out of it and promotes positive leadership towards the tandem democracy-legality. The United Nations indicate the rebirth of Palermo as model and symbol for the promotion of the culture of legality in the five continents. or of garbage bins overturned by demonstrators. But the astonishment goes further. and not only a vitalistic and precarious experience made up of unemployed asking for work by protesting on the roofs of the palaces of power. made up of traffic jams and continuous exhortations to do better (a kind of "io speriamo che me la cavo"1... let's hope we'll manage 'til the evening"). or as we would put it in our Sicilian dialect. "agghiurno.. and the rehabilitation of the city's immense and most beautiful centre. all these. not even a state!) and honorary citizenship for the 14th Dalai Lama.. What happened in Palermo and...The Sicilian Cart by Leoluca Orlando President of the Sicilian Renaissance Institute Culture of legality seems a play on words. Our experience proved to be a theory and a model.. words that express different realities: wholesome and warm the former. in Sicily during the last few years of the century and the millennium? The citizens sought to oppose a violent and uncivil phenomenon like the Mafia without themselves becoming violent and uncivil. "we have seen the day break .. were part and parcel — like the tesserae of a mosaic — of a precise and harmonious cultural project. but also the re-opening of the Massimo Theatre and the construction of tens of new school buildings. ora speriamo ca scura". it is also true . Their NO to the death penalty to the point of conferring honorary citizenship upon the condemned (of any country and no matter what the reason: nobody may kill. An astounding play on words. cold and angular the latter. far from being episodes of protagonism of a peripheral administration. both winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. the concert of solidarity for the oppressed Kurdish people and honorary citizenship for David Trimble and John Hume. more generally. That experience is today making the rounds of the world. It is the priority choice of the United Nations Organization in the matter of crime prevention in the world in 2002 and for the next four years. completely abandoned for so many years . If it is true that there is a relationship between democracy and peace.

Boston and San Francisco. the wheel of legality eventually started moving again and I could therefore concern myself with the other wheel. but that legality is far too important to be entrusted only to policemen and public prosecutors. but a start had somehow to be made. seeing that the whole of the economy was controlled by the Mafiosi and that every Palermitan had either a relative or a friend who had been killed by the Mafia. and better than such cities as New York or Chicago. will simply wheel in circles. Palermo reminds us that there is a relationship between democracy and legality.that peace is far too important for it to be entrusted solely to the military. became a resource. Midway through the 'eighties we had some 240/250 Mafia killings in Palermo (and solely in Palermo!) each year. a public prosecutor: I almost invariably talked about crime and trials . midway through the 'eighties. making sure that the two wheels would turn at the same speed. there is the risk of organizing a fine concert of Sicilian music in honour . of some Mafia boss. the wheel of culture and the wheel of legality. In 2000 we had just eight murders in Palermo.. the traditional Sicilian cart with its two wheels. both its wheels had sunk deep into the bog of fear and collusion . the cart had to be got moving again. the cart stood still. the municipal administration neither had a regular budget nor an inventory of public property. either because he opposed that criminal organization or was actually a member of it! In 2000 we can really speak of democracy and free market in Palermo: democracy in Palermo lives the hopes and the ills — and the latter unfortunately are not by any means few — of Italian politics as a whole and in Palermo it has become possible to live. none of them connected with the Mafia.. And so it was. At the beginning of my work as mayor (in the second half of the 'eighties) I seemed to be — just like many other mayors of Sicilian cities — a policeman. Milan and Turin. Two wheels that have to turn at the same speed. At the beginning of my term as mayor. The model is the Sicilian cart. 1 don't know what kind of democracy and what kind of free market they had in mind. Midway through the 'eighties they said there was democracy and free market in Palermo.. Am I saying that the Mafia no longer exists in Palermo? Certainly not!!! . the two wheels began to turn at the same speed.. once a handicap. If only the wheel of culture is turning and the wheel of legality remains still. Thanks to the dedication of courageous policemen and magistrates. otherwise the cart won't move forward. an international financial reliability rating that put it on par with the administrations of Stockholm. and Palermo. something shameful was turned into a model. to say nothing of Rome. in 2000 Palermo's municipal administration obtained an Aa3 rating from Moody's. work and do business without coming up against the Mafia..

In the past the Mafia was a "genus". the emerging values of Italian culture. the Mafia of the Second Republic bound up with the distortions of the economy of profit. Today it is being realized that the Sicilian Mafia is only a "species". is dance. the teachings of Mahomet or the words of Christ or of Yahweh . so is the Chinese variety. civil society. The Mafia was the Sicilian Mafia . even in Palermo. But when we are attacked by a robber who wants to deprive us of money by invoking Corsican pride. Culture.The Mafia exists. And thus every time we think of violation of human rights by bandits and terrorists. an illegality connected with a cultural identity. and this genus coincided with the Sicilian Mafia. we can affirm that the genus is not Mafia. In other words. the wheel of culture.still seeks to control both heads and purses. as should be clear by now. the public prosecutor. When we are attacked by a robber who wants to deprive us of our money. Today in Palermo both the "old" and the "new" Mafias are present and operating. Basque identity. But today the Mafia no longer controls — as it did in the past — the heads and the purses of Palermo's citizens. it is no longer enough to call the police or the public prosecutor . but first and foremost is con- . the world of information. but rather by evoking and distorting liberty and success.. This experience is today becoming a model and surpasses the confines of the reality conditioned by the Mafia. school. There is the risk that the old Mafia. Reflecting about the different Mafias in the world today. the Russian Mafia is another. the Mafia that tries to get its foot into the politics of the so-called "Second Republic": the Mafia of the First Republic bound up with the distortions of the economy of unearned income.the Mafia was Sicily.. we always come back to the wheel of culture. and the Colombian one is yet another. is music. Sicily was the Mafia. i. but rather what is called "identity illegality". Though the Mafia — I am referring to the new and winning Mafia . the wheel that at Palermo contributed to freeing the heads of the citizens from the hegemony of the Mafia. all we have to do is to call the police. no matter what their cultural identity. what we need is the second wheel of the Sicilian cart. the Mafia bound up with the politics of the so-called "First Republic" — which should have been swept away by the explosion of the moral question in the 'nineties — will now become flanked by a new Mafia. it no longer does so by invoking and distorting such traditional values of culture as honour and family..e.. the men of religion.

I call "satanic verse". And in just the same way the German people's respect for the law was used by Nazism to obtain obedience for the racial laws. which the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations adopted and made its own. enchanting and go-getting the one that uses liberty. And likewise Basque. in the name of the family. and we Sicilians have great experience because we have made many great mistakes. 1) A schoolboys completely ungrammatkal. to violate rights of the human person. Catholic-Irish and Corsican terrorism to kill and to rob. as also all the manifestations of identity illegality". and not only in Sicily. to rob. family and friendship as "satanic verse". the fundamental rights of every human person. With the two wheels of the Sicilian cart. but also untranslatable way of saying "let's hope I'll get by" rendered famous by the book of a teacher published in Italy some years ago... the theory that.. It is the phenomenon. But that lesson stands in need of being continuously updated and vivified to avoid that distortions of the economy of unearned income and capitalism without rules. success and wealth as its "satanic verse". The Mafia still exists: violent and weakened the one that uses honor. both these mafias can be resisted: that is the lesson that comes from Sicily. Catholic-Irish or Corsican pride have been used by Basque. And we Sicilians have a great experience that we ought not to boast about . isolation and mortification of the operators of justice and loss of sense of responsibility could bring about... George Bernard Shaw reminded us that experience is the name we give to our mistakes.. in the very name of that traditional German respect for the law. Though equally criminal. a cultural sign is used to mortify human rights. it is possible to resist all the Mafias in any part of the world. in the name of that selfsame pride. has affirmed itself as a strategic choice for the prevention of crime throughout the world. with respect for law and identity. It is Palermo's experience that tells us all this. with the culture of legality born in Sicily amid sorrow and fear. That lesson. indeed. every human person. . Honour and the family were thus used by the Mafia as satanic verse to kill and rob. a return to the terrible season of massacres. basing myself on Salman Rushdie's famous book and the experience of Palermo's renaissance. that cultural sign is turned into satanic verse. When a value. rage and hope. And in just the same way freedom... that value..sciousness of one's individual and community identity and its link with the respect of the human person.. Every cultural identity is exposed to the risk of mortifying (humiliating) the human person. security and wellbeing can be used as satanic verse whenever they are invoked to kill. in the name of honour.

and this to the point where all this was practically taken for granted! A regional inquiry about the Mafia carried out in the 1970's produced numerous volumes of proceedings. Evidently. as some people may still hold today. the action of those who were supposed to ascertain the facts and set the law in motion whenever appropriate had become blocked at a certain point. regional or state administration often had to seek the mediation of an influential friend. unable to assure the orderly enjoyment by the citizens of their rights and their legitimate personal liberty. it was still being affirmed that Cardinal Ruffini.The need for "antimafia pastoral" by Cardinal Salvatore Pappalardo Palermo Archbishop emeritus When I first arrived in Palermo in December 1970. In short. with the result that people obtained as a "favour" what was really their due as an act of correct administration or justice. And it could also happen that in this manner they obtained things to which they were not entitled and even things that were clearly contra legem. Nowadays everybody recognizes that such a situation existed for a long time in Sicily and that a citizen who wished to obtain something from a municipal. In a pastoral letter written in 1967 he had in fact said that the Mafia was not "the true face of Sicily". or turn to some politician or even a Mafioso. was for a long period of time such as to give rise to collusions. given their ancient civilization. but that Sicilians (and even I have said this on several occasions) had rather to be considered as the victims of the Mafia and that. connivances. favouritisms and the like. That was not correct. but practically no results. I should here add that the Cardinal's letter went on to sustain that the cause of the presence and arrogance of the Mafia in Sicily's territory was the absence of the State. that very little was known at that time about the nature and organization of the Mafia. and everything could therefore continue as before. one of my predecessors in the see. they had virtues and merits that could not but be loyally recognized. culture and Christian faith. that you did well not to even pro-nounce its name in public for fear that in some way or another that could bring troubles on your head. indeed. People could be certain only that it was something you had best stay away from. the political situation in Italy. It therefore created a certain impression when in the course of some public spee- . and especially in Sicily. however. had denied the existence of the Mafia in Sicily. It should be borne in mind.

The perception that the Mafia. Saguntum is being conquered") was intended to be. were looked upon either as internal affairs of the Mafia gangs or as intimidations or vendettas involving some official or magistrate who had done his work with excessive zeal. The numerous crimes committed around the beginning of the 1980's. Since then the Church assemblies and meetings in the island have witnessed an ever larger number of interventions and denunciations not only of the antisocial aspect of the Mafia.e. The excommunication was confirmed by the Sicilian Episcopal Conference on two subsequent occasions and it still applies today. some people even came to believe . because there was the Mafia to prevent it! However. Saguntum expugnatur" ("While they talk in Rome. In short. other servants of the State and then also the Prefect of Palermo. and was also understood as such. but also of the things that place it in such sharp contrast with the Gospel . had inflicted "excommunication" (i. also promoted a subversive project vis-h-vis the State dates to the end of the 1970s. among them the assassination of the Regional President. for the purposes of a proper valuation of the attention that the Sicilian episcopate paid to the large number of assassinations and armed robberies that were being perpetrated in the island. there was a tendency to consider and confine the Mafia as something purely criminal and therefore of interest only to the police forces and the courts. In the sad period when organized terrorism was rampant in all part of the Italian peninsula. and therefore in the days of Cardinal Ruffini. Piersanti Mattarella.ches I openly referred to the presence and pernicious action of the Mafia and the Mafiosi and suggested that they were present even among the so-called "white collars".that no such terrorist acts had occurred in Sici-ly. brought home to everybody just how tragic the situation had become and how great was the need for the State to intervene quickly and with great determination.almost with satisfaction . especially the murders. quite apart from its individual crimes. it seems to me important to mention that the bishops. and with it came the general realization that the fight against it could not be left solely to the police forces and the courts. General Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa. The Latin phrase I quoted on the tragic occasion of the funeral of General Dalla Chiesa remained impressed in people's memory: "Dum Romae consulitur. the spiritual penalty of exclusion from the Church community) upon the executors and instigators of these crimes. an appeal that the State should be more continuously and actively present in its territory and implied also that the social structures should realize that they could no longer remain inert. The crimes it committed. ever since the regional synod in 1952.. but had likewise to be present and active in the face of such a menacing danger.

. which proclaims justice. who in 1991 re-ferred to the Mafia in the following terms: "This social scourge represents a serious menace not only to civil society. we realized more clearly that. we had to talk not only with the juridical categories and the language of the penal code and civil society. The diction may not have been wholly correct.. In short. which is inherent in the Mafia as such. The Regional Meeting of 1985 even arrived at prospecting the need for a specifically "antimafia pastoral" in the island. but also with the categories and terminology of the Church. . but also to the mission of the Church. that they are outside the communion of his Church"... love and peace as the fundamental and inalienable values of a Christian. should assume a very dear and decided position in its educational and formative action. we kept on repeating that "all those who in some way and deliberately form part of the Mafia or commit acts of connivance with the Mafia should know that they are and live in unhealable opposition to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. that they are in radical conflict with the Gospel. since it undermines the ethical consciousness and Christian culture of the Sicilian people from within". A position that would vigorously underscore that observance of the natural law. and were made known both to the faithful and to all those in society who could be interested in knowing this position. and the assassination of Don Puglisi. a priest).. inasmuch as it is a distorted complex of false values. regarding its incompatibility with the Gospel. it is our duty to underscore the denunciation. These were unequivocal statements that cannot leave any doubt as to the position the Church has assumed in respect of the Mafia. For this reason. but also the refusal of the very concepts and mentality of the Mafia. which have to be expressly condemned as such and shown up as in every way detrimental to legality. as far as the Mafia was concerned..and the ways of living and operating that are peculiar to the Church community. Equally strong words can be read in similar documents published between 1992 and 1995 (years that witnessed the massacres of the magistrates Falcone and Borsellino and their escorts. too. and turns its members into nothing other than hands of the Devil".. so as to make it very clear that the actions and the mentality of the Mafia are already in themselves gravely sinful. but it did bring home just how very essential it was that the Church. quite apart from its pernicious potential of delinquency. The statements made in this connection by the bish-ops in their pastoral documents and the communiques of the Regional Conferences thus became ever stronger and more explicit and were subsequently confirmed also by the present Pope. when the General Assembly of the Italian Dioceses to be held in Paler-mo was already being prepared: "As regards the Mafia. because without any shadow of doubt it forms part of the kingdom of sin. the divine commandments and the evangelical precepts implies in itself not only a radical opposition to individual acts of criminal transgression. true justice and Christian charity.

thus enhancing their presence in the territory and the specific activities of religious education and formation performed at this level. but called for the presence of the entire Church community. intensifying the various forms of evangelization in the course of time. corrodes the essential nodes of its social and political life. and it made extensive use of these to spread not only strictly religious . it has sought to be present and active in its territory. The Palermitan Church has always been richly blessed with good will and dedication to its mission. by means of which the Church sought to reach as many people and families as possible. in meeting places and at work. and particularly the Mafia. seeking to stimulate them ever more strongly towards the good and away from evil. humiliates. which was brought from 158 to 178. mortifies and damages our land. in particular. if you wish..Other citations. a case in point being a document that the bishops published in 1996 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Sicily's Statute of Autonomy: "We cannot but recall and denounce delinquency in all its forms. in blocks of flats. improperly called "antimafia masses". in public structures. together with all the other churches in the island. We sought to involve all the Church realities and communities in this program. the tragic succession of its dead.. As regards the Palermitan Church. It is legitimate to hold that such repeated public denunciations and condemnations have not remained without effect in the mind and conscience of those who in this land of Sicily are anxious to continue calling themselves Christians. could still be added. We also had some extraordinary penitential celebrations that took place in the Cathedral and enjoyed a massive participation of people and civil and social representations. so that it should be seen that the action that had to be taken was not just limited to the clergy. to whom so many pastoral appeals had already been addressed in preceding years.. which were celebrated throughout the dioceses with great commitment in 1984 and the immediately following years as a moment of intent reflection about the moral and religious values of life and a strong and general appeal for a change in people's behaviour. It was in those years that we had the opportunity of increasing the number of parishes. It constitutes Sicily's most shameful social scourge that with its foul and excessive power. We paid ever greater attention to young people. in individual homes. the religious and small groups of volunteers. they sought to promote wide-spread consciousness of the social and moral evil induced by Mafia activities.. in streets and squares. and clouds its image and name before the rest of the country and the world". Some 4000 "lay missionaries" of both sexes were involved in this work. especially the so-called popular missions. and its abominable crimes.

some of which can look back on a history covering several centuries. to ensure that evangelical culture and spirit should permeate to the various levels of the population. This long list of initiatives. about forty popular schools have been opened offering three-year courses of basic theology. those of the Cardinal Ruffini Charitable Institution. but are undoubtedly also a valid antidote for every form of ethical. Biagio Conte's Hope and Charity Mission. and so on. elementary. university courses in jurisprudence. Palermo's Church has also sought to help lay people to improve their education in the social and religious fields: apart from the Theological Faculty and the Superior Institute of Religious Sciences. We have always been able to rely also on the numerous volunteer groups at work in various social service centres for persons at risk or in need of material or assistance. . not by any means com-plete. and all forming part of the Lay Apostolate Council. religious educators and pastoral workers have worked with much patience. the so-called Case famiglia (Family homes). and two centres dedicated. secondary and higher schools they tot up to 132. the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. and those animated by the numerous religious orders present in Palermo with their churches. moral and social deviation. the Missionaries of Charity. not least among the families of their pupils. and even more so in recent years. respectively. social solidarity. But mention should also be made here of the strongly formative activities of the Catholic schools: between kindergartens. to political culture and Catholic social doctrine. The youth groups in the parishes have always been a field where priests. bears witness to the attention the Diocese has always paid in the past. legality and morality. about a hundred in all. oratories and meeting places where adolescents can play and learn. schools.that exist in the dioceses. legal.values. the numerous groups of Catholic Action. but also those of human promo-don. a Social Service University School. They include the popular confraternities. for these not only sustain the life of faith of Christians. The same formative and educational commitment has also been extended to many and highly diverse associations of young people . the Servants of the Poor. Together with these charitable and educational institutions. each with its own membership. among them the "Borsellino Centres.and also of the not so very young . managed either by religious educators or directly by the Diocese. Santa Chiara. they are doing highly profitable work. fighting unceasingly against every form of egoism and spreading the notion of the common good that is just as essential for the life of the Church community as it is for the progress of civil society.

he did a great deal of work for the religious and social formation of the young and this was why the Mafia decided to kill him. he kept asking the competent authorities that in his quarter. civil.Though care has always been taken to enhance the fundamental action and responsibility of parents in the education in the religious and civil education of their children. Recent years have seen the Palermitan schools actively engaged in activities aimed at promoting social values. moral and religious life. quite apart from appropriate structures to take the youngsters away from the degradation and miseducation of the streets. but also promoting the sense of their civil dignity and liberty and the ability to defend them. Palermo's Church today takes this minister as symbol and martyr of the will of redemption that still animates the city. Always well conscious of the duties that derived from his pastoral ministry. Don Giuseppe Puglisi. * Speech in occasion of the international symposium "The role of Civil society in Countering organised crime: ( bal implication of the Palermo. Sicily Renaissance"'— December 2000 . the priest assassinated by the Mafia in Palermo in 1993. and this has undoubtedly been one of the most important elements for fostering greater civil consciousness not only among the young. thought and acted in this way. capable not only of giving them culture. but among the citizenry as a whole. so that it may continue and complete the promising process of liberation from the Mafia that has been under way and to reaffirm the loftiest values of physical. our Church has always held that the state school institutions are privileged means and fields for promoting the global education of children and preventing them falling prey to the obscure forces at work in society. there should be opened a secondary school. Particularly committed in the Brancaccio quarter. values that are all inherent in the Christian faith that for so many centuries sustained this ancient and noble Sicilian peopie.

The role of religious experiences The Sicilian case .

As regards Sicily in particular. including the common good. Ladies and Gentlemen. characterized by certain scandals that derived from the failure of some top levels of the political life of our country to comply with the requirements of legality. also enjoyed considerable publicity and echo. which bore the title Educare alia legalira (Educating for legality).Promotion of a culture of lawfulness The contribution of Sicily's Catholic community by Mons. a date that brings to the mind of us Italians a rather stormy and tempestuous period of our recent history. Salvatore Di Cristina Let me begin by bidding a hearty and most cordial welcome to all of you. Indeed. but is still rather significant for our present purposes. Let me say right away that the note of the Italian episcopate had a considerable and. and saying a word of thanks to the organizers of this seminar. capillary impact of reflection and self-criticism on practically all the country's Church communities. to whom I am most grateful for having invited me to come here and make a contribution. the theme of education for legality had at the time and keeps on having true moments of choral reflection that. and the particular historical moment that suggested its publication at the time have a close bearing on the reflections of our seminar The note in question is dated 4 October 1991. That meeting courageously denounced the "spreading and taking root of an excessively subjectivist mentality". the tendency to interpret the "good. giving rise to a courageous calling into question of choices and life styles that were more or less current at the various levels of public and private life and a consequent and rather tangible re-awakening of a more authentic civil consciousness among Italian Catholics. in an egocentric and utilitarian sense. the message was clearly addressed first and foremost to Catholics and was intended to stimulate a healthy self-criticism: "Unfortunately — as the final document of the meeting noted — we have to admit that . both the subject matter of the note. on at least two particularly solemn occasions during this last decade. Given the ecclesial character of the meeting. It therefore declared this way of seeing things and the behaviour patterns that go with as being in contrast with Christian culture. I cannot set the ball rolling without making at least a brief mention of a "note" by the Italian Episcopal Conference that goes back to a few years ago. I am referring to a great Church meeting held in November 1993 with the participation of more than one thousand five hundred representatives of all the Sicilian dioceses. As regards my specific contribution. May you all have the fruits and benefits you expected from this experience. indeed.

The second solemn occasion was offered by the Conference of the Sicilian Bishops in 1996. and (even) a certain deplorable openness of the system to being permeated by illicit and illegal interests" . produced with the help of numerous experts in various juridical. efforts that we have been vigorously making for many years now. nor do I think would you wish me to retrace the various changes that have occurred in the attitude of the Church and civil society vis-a-vis this phenomenon and the reasons underlying these changes. fruit of the conversion of minds and hearts" .the Plenary Council of Sicilian Bishops under the chairmanship of Cardinal Ernesto Ruffini had inflicted excommunication upon the executor and instigators of crimes committed in furtherance of organized criminality: a penalty that was subsequently confirmed by the Sicilian Episcopal Conference and is still applicable explicitly in connection with Mafia crimes. that the regional political framework at that moment was "burdened by the widespread technical incompetence of those responsible for the public Administration. which . especially the speeches he made on the occasion of the tragic assassinations of the 'eighties and the early 'nineties. The bishops therefore called for the "vigil and responsible participation of all. founded and sustained by a reform of customs. For the sake of truth and justice. even though we are always looking for new methodological approaches. Cardinal Pappalardo was well aware of the risk that could be associated with his commitment. appealing to them "to act in a manner that was not in conflict but in harmony with the inalienable good of democracy and civil living together" . but also rather forcefully. But the efforts of the Sicilian Church in favour of education for legality.not even Christians always manage to remain immune from this sickness of society" . It would hardly be appropriate for me to attempt a description of the Mafia phenomenon here. I cannot but recall the interventions of Palermo's previous Archbishop. found their most typical application in connection with the sad phenomenon of the Mafia. In this connection one only has to bear in mind that . especially those who have direct responsibilities in the political and social field". murders that shook the entire nation. Here I only want to recall that . I should also recall that as from the 'seventies onwards the contributions of the Sicilian episcopate and especially the statements of its Regional Conference have been characterized by the forcefulness and appropriateness of their early as 1962 . the lack of true political professionalism of these selfsame administrators .. this in clear awareness that "no institutional reform is possible if it is not accompanied. In particular.from about the middle of last century onwards . noted with discretion.though primarily intended as a pastoral commitment — could nevertheless be interpreted in accor- . administrative and social fields. which coincided with the fiftieth anniversary of the statute that set up the Sicilian Region. Cardinal Salvatore Pappalardo. the final document. Given his acute intelligence.the change began to take shape in the Church. As regards lawfulness. perhaps too slowly at first. but almost certainly long before it did so in civil society.

"anti-mafia bishop"): in other words. More with the stereotype of the "anti-mafia priest" (or. the peculiar theologico-pastoral horizon of which had not yet been clearly appreciated. an episode that made the headlines not least on account of a clumsy and theatrical police operation. At this point many people took the view that dissociation from the Mafia. A wave of indignation that. which reached a peak of brutality on the occasion of the assassinations in Palermo that I recalled a moment or two ago. was assassinated precisely on account of the dedication with which he sought to recuperate the people of his parish to a truly Christian consciousness. could be due to a Christianly motivated fidelity to one's conscience or that the commitment in the fight against the Mafia of some servants of the State could in some way be connected with the fact they were also practicing Catholics. laid bare the existence of a specific problematic regarding the "pastoral care of Mafia members". or simply the ostentatious respect the Mafia was wont to show to men of the Church. parish priest of Brancaccio. lastly. a Christian approach to the Mafia phenomenon. On the one hand. or the longstanding practice of the local mafias to play an active part in parish committees and congregations. The need for organizing an opposition to the Mafia that in some way was inspired directly by the Christian faith was beginning to be felt in the parishes and among the groups of the Catholic associations. at least among the strata of the population normally reached by Christian catechesis. aroused a wave of indignation that at long last began to assume a truly popular character even in Sicily. But let me come back to my theme. an episode bound up with certain sacramental events administered by a Catholic priest to a fugitive mafia member. The spiritual stature of Don . Cardinal Pappalardo's concern really derived from the need for finding an appropriate methodology. the risk that his role as minister of the Word of God could become flattened into the reductive instances of so-called "civil religion". but is certainly highly expressive of this strongly-felt need for motivating and organizing the handling of this specific problem by means of a method inspired by the Gospel. A true turning point as regards the sense and the authentically Christian style of the fight against the Mafia was reached when Don Giuseppe Puglisi. The tragic recrudescence of Mafia violence. obviously also tended to assume specifically Christian connotations. paid for with one's life. on the other hand. in his case. there was the need for dispelling some commonplaces that saw the Mafia as traditionally "bound" to Sicily's ecclesiastic environment. the Church wanted to define the Mafia and the struggle against it in terms of a language that was not simply the mirror image of the language used by the courts and the mass media and therefore rather sterile from the point of view of the faith. be it on account of an occasional mafia affiliate who was also a relative of a member of the clergy. one of Palermo's quarters where the Mafia is particularly numerous. At the regional meeting it was even said that Sicily stood in need of an "anti-mafia pastoral": the term may not be very appropriate.

a power that is dedicated to the persuasion. but rather by its specific congruity with the mission of the Church. Using the appropriate scientific instruments. which he lived with a simple and yet winning and intensely communicative humanity. a contribution he paid for with a death — forgive me the oxymoron — lived as a true Christian. all this was very much in the minds of those attending the previously mentioned Third Meeting of the Sicilian Churches. but also wholly intransigent in not authorizing exceptions or simple-minded compromises as far as evil is concerned. they came to grips with the themes of the correct ethical and moral valuation of the Mafia phenomenon and sought to define in various ways the principles that should inspire the Church's attitude in the face of organized criminality. they make specific reference to Don Giuseppe Puglisi: "Against this Mafia mentality and against the violence of the Mafia. no matter who may commit it or profit therefiom. The formative contribution that Don Giuseppe Puglisi made to the fight against the Mafia. the unarmed and yet irreducible power of the Gospel. promotion and conversion of people. Some months after his death. but also to adopt a pedagogy that will surely prove a winner against the Mafia's culture of death.Giuseppe and his lofty personality as a pastor. we Bishops of Sicily intend to oppose once again. It is legitimate to think that such strong denunciations and condemnations by Sicily's topmost Church authorities have not failed to produce effects in the mind and consciousness of all those who in this land of ours set store . but even more decidedly. the model that he constitutes for the Sicilian clergy and every true Christian is also the challenge we launch to all those whom it may concern".and continue to set store — on calling themselves Christians. assuming an unusually forceful position against the culture and the practice of the Mafia. To which I might add that some priest-teachers have for some time been experimenting an interesting model of environmental pastoral action in a particularly degraded area of . especially with a view to a method of fighting the Mafia no longer defined in purely general terms. Don Giuseppe Puglisi fully incarnated this twofold power of the Gospel: he represents an example for all of us. forcefully proposed him as a lofty model for the ecclesial community and its pastors. especially when. not only enabled the Church community to shed once and for all the equivocations of a certain and by then distant past. The Theological Faculty of Sicily and other of the island's academic and Catholic cultural realties have for a long time past been involved in this reflection about the Christian specificity of both the theological motivation and the methodology and pastoral language of the Church's fight against the culture of the Mafia. whose labours are reflected in the document issued by the Sicilian bishops under the title "New Evangelization and Pastoral".

and also a Superior Institute of Religious Sciences (four hundred and fifty students). One hundred and thirty-two nursery. A memorable event in this connection was the mobilization of about three thousand lay missionaries. As far as the Church of Palermo is concerned. 3. for a series of catechesis courses held in Palermo's blocks of flats in 1884. who attend lessons. seminars and special training courses for a total of 110 hours a year. 4. Somewhat later.paying attention to the Mafia phenomenon in the form of a high moral tension in keeping with the spirit of the Gospel. who had been painstakingly prepared over an entire year. where they seek to get the beneficiaries directly involved in a kind of cultural "self-rehabilitation".Palermo's city centre. The Catholic academic institutions and other schools present in Sicily's capital are working in the same direction and are open to all without any discrimination whatsoever: The Theological Faculty of Sicily.promoting a Christianly-informed culture of lawfulness. It availed itself of these to spread not only religious values in the strict sense. which has three institutional cycles. gradually intensifying the principal resource of its pastoral mission. but also those of human promotion. The most tangible consequence of that mobilization was and still is the Theological Training School for Laymen (what we now call the Basic Theology School) which on average has some eight hundred students. specialization courses. every effort has been made to be present and active in all parts of its territory. 1. which sets itself the task of: . 2. The University Course in Jurisprudence. legality and morality. elementary and lower and upper secondary schools run by the religious. social solidarity. .promoting a culture of respect for and solidarity with all public officials who have the task of enforcing the laws of civil coexistence. together with the other Sicilian cities. The youth groups in the parishes and of the Catholic associations and movements have always been a rich fount of volunteer workers — at present we in Sicily . a research doctorate. The Church of Palermo has always enjoyed a wealth of energies and ferments in the lay world and among the young. namely catechesis and formative action in general. . who also do some very useful formative work with the parents of their students. the Archdiocese also set up its own Socio-Political Training School.

following his example and trusting in his intercession with God.can claim to be absolute leaders in this field at the national level. have in connection with the global human education of the young. it has also held in great consideration the task and the responsibility that the public institutions. especially the children and the youngsters in the high-risk areas include the Centro Padre Nostro. 5. The Church of Palermo. 6. these relations are fruitful and cordial. based on mutual respect for the competencies of the two sides and dedicated solely to the interest of the young. Though the Church of Palermo has always endeavoured to use its service structures to arouse and enhance the fundamental responsibility of the family in the religious and civil education of the new generations. This was the way of thinking and acting of Don Giuseppe Puglisi. school first and foremost among them. It has therefore endeavoured to maintain close relations of collaboration through its own associative organizations. the whole of the City of Palermo will continue and complete the work of liberation from the Mafia. has assumed this minister as symbol and witness of the will for redemption that animates it. and the recently founded Centro Educazione alia Fraternita. Today the confraternities often constitute a precious source of help for the priests. an association that is also an important structure for the rehabilitation of drug addicts. As a general rule. liberation from all browbeating of man by man that has been so promisingly commenced. A particular has been made in connection with the work of Christian formation of the lay confraternities. though in the past not always free of infiltrations far from compatible with an authentic Christianity. Casa dei Giovani. a liberation accompanied by the promotion of the authentic (and therefore Christian) culture of the values of life. which is sustained by a private association of highly motivated Christian laymen. engaged to the very end in urging the lower secondary school so sadly lacking in his quarter. The organizations at work to recuperate the unwitting victims of the Mafia culture. . It hopes that. traditional forms of religious association in our island. peace and justice that founds human co-existence and is desired by our Creator. all. centres like Santa Chiara of the Salesian Fathers and Paolo Borsellino in the San Ernesto Parish. founded by Don Giuseppe Puglisi in his Brancaccio. It has since been set up and bears his name. its clergy and people.

better. In actual fact "Segno" was born in Palermo in the house of the Redemptorist Fathers in Via Badia. The experience and the passions. fruit of studies and specific analyses: the new paper had been decided in the space of a few weeks in substitution of another. It did not have at its back a real editorial program. They came from the Vatican Council. even though it was situated in and always concerned itself with Palermo. which had brought the spontaneous ecclesial groups to life. However. the war in Vietnam and guerilla warfare in Latin America.Palermo's "Segno" by Nino Fasullo 1. At the social and cultural level. with the theology of liberation associated with it. those years were marked by don Lorenzo Milani's Lettera ad un professoressa (Letter to a schoolmistress) and the Letter to Pipetta. And therefore by critique of politics. by 1968 in die universities. . But behind it there was an experience and. on the other hand. were altogether Sicilian or. on the other hand. the ideas of "Segno" had not been born right in Palermo. the paper kept steering its course on the twin rail of the Christian faith and commitment in society. certainly. The period and the ideas amid which "Segno" saw the light of day are thus those of the 'seventies and. though immobile and backward. The paper thus drew its origin from the most important ecclesial event of the century. which ever since the end of 1972 had aroused quite a few perplexities and reserves in the Church environment and the political environments associated with it. with an ever-open eye for the problems of international life. never enclosed itself in the city or in Sicily: its space was the country. were prepared by the previous decade. The first issue of "Segno" (Sign) saw the light of day in Palermo in November 1975. was also rich in energies that always seemed on the point of erupting. The latter aspect is somewhat particular. inasmuch as "Segno". in their turn. "II Cristiano d'Oggi"(The Christian Today). also very clear ideas about the renewal of the Church and politics: indeed. Years that from the ecclesial point of view were marked by the Council. 2. Palermitan: they assumed form and color in a city that. and therefore by Gaudium et spes and the explosive force of the liturgical reform. rising from the ashes of another review. Of this story we shall here underscore only two points: the essential characteristics of the review and its links with Palermo.

possibly a specific one. was its laity. be it even for good purposes. for order to concern herself full-time with the Gospel. even though historically "laymen" and "Catholics" in Italy represented two line-ups that were not only different but also hostile. that is to say. but independent and autonomous of them — as a monthly of "Catholics and laymen". safeguarding democracy and the interests of the Church . It will readily be understood just how new and subversive an approach of this kind must have seemed in Palermitan Catholic environments. "Segno" was de facto the expression of a group of men and women committed to common objectives that were really shared by believers and non-believers. the dignity of the poor. understanding the sense of its cultural commitment and the issue at stake. The differences and dividing fences of former days have disappeared. for example. An intentionally ambiguous. It was also sustained by the evangelical parabola (Mat 21."the political unity of Catholics is abolished". . in politics or in proposing or voting a law to regulate the phenomenon of divorce. but simply responsible use of critical reason in all fields of knowledge and morality. or those who concretely further the teachings of the Gospel? Who is a Catholic politician? Those who frequent the curias and are presented and sustained by the bishop at election time. In Palermo and it even indirect. Who is a believer? was the question asked in those years. obviously. 5. but rather because it had "commanded" the Church to leave herself free of all mundane concerns of wielding power . Those who in words profess the faith. it represented for Palermo and Sicily. liberty. sympathized with the review. or those who are effectively committed in favor of justice. opposition to the Church. with the perspective of freedom and democracy that. Laity. 28-32 of the father who has two sons. society and politics. that it aroused reserve and in some cases even hostility. found itself in the midst of the tempest. peace. no longer means. Rather. Without traumas and in all tranquillity a Catholic can also be a layman. but who is effectively obeyed only by the younger. One characteristic of "Segno". who is seeming disobedient in words. In the end the Council had left the Church with the possibility of having but one party: the party of the poor. of women. "Segno". he cannot but be such. as far as the review is concerned. and therefore with the poor. And if she had acquired authority and civil and cultural force. Quite a few people. which in the meantime had come to life. from within the Church. but correct description. and for a future of freedom for the young? 6. these had to be wholly spent for the poor. today Catholics who base themselves on the Council can also be "laymen" without ceasing to be Catholics. The editorial group of "Segno" used Chapter 25 of the Gospel according to Saint Matthew as the criterion for reading the history of the Church. Because. The review was constituted — in the house of the Redemptorist Fathers.

equality. take them in. "Segno"'s Catholics took the Council as their guide. But only if left is not taken to mean. They freed God of all responsibility that really behoved men. as also of actual practice. sometimes even the theoretical ones. It was not by chance that in those years the young readers of the review were reading some of the Council's documents each week. In short. was the theme of a memorable talk given by Dom Giovanni Franzoni. but also — and more concretely — everyday practice. pretending not to see them. The doctrine of the parabola is clear: you cannot pass beyond the problems of men. You have to stop. 3037). quite the contrary. especially for the poor. A review that criticized in order to rejuvenate. where believers and non-believers found themselves committed side by side to the attainment of one and the same objective: putting an end to the dominion of the Mafia and the culture that characterizes it. the things and the people you are in favor of. in Via Badia. rather than being a mere title for . As far as "Segno" was concerned. and come to grips with them.What collapsed in those days was a Catholic pseudo-culture and the seemingly massive and often artificial wall that divided believers from non-believers: all of whom were invariably seen as "left-wingers". "Segno" was culturally a paper of the left. truth and peace: in the sense of Pacem in terris of John XXIII. because they distinguished between faith and reason and assumed the responsibility of science and culture. Purely Christian passion. At least according to the Gospel. There came to be experimented a cultural and operative co-existence that changed not only the ideology. practice and behavior that resolve and settle questions. The central category of Chapter 25 of Matthew's Gospel is practice. and I will tell you whether you are a Christian. which in Palermo. to push towards new comprehensions and responsibilities. Consequently. To the point of legitimately holding that a Christian who did not commit himself to changing the world in a progressive sense would not be a Christian. atheist and unbelieving. man or woman of the left meant only a seeker of freedom. a notoriously left-wing manifesto. 7. Passion for change was the most intimate spring of the cultural and political activity of "Segno". Tell me what you do. the Christian faith. But it is life. what side you are on. One of the most significant effects of this position was the unitary character of the anti-Mafia movement of the 'eighties. as it must not be taken to mean. Another parabola that "converges" with the teachings of Matthew is that of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10. for whatever meaning there may attach to this term. Not that orthodoxy is of no importance. The fact that in Palermo there was but one antiMafia movement. And this was yet another of the Council's qualifying teachings that "Segno" promoted by its various initiatives. In this sense. The "segnisti" were laymen to the hilt. justice. 8. as one might say. "Segno" was a review of critique.

place and time of publication. the police unions. the humiliation. subscribed and met to fight a phenomenon and a power that offends Palermitans. the political parties. In this way "Segno" was the expression not only of the little editorial group that for almost thirty years has written its leading articles only after having discussed. The faith has to be spent in the city. we were looking for contacts. rigorous.42. run through. read and approved them. 9. And integral documents with date. And then studies and reflections: precise. With these convictions it was inevitable that "Segno" should confront itself with the problems of the city. the orphans. documented. "Segno" was not conceived as a periodical of Mafia questions. Sicilians. employed to the very last drop. There was no lack of collaboration. practically the entire life of "Segno". but passed on.saving oneself. it had openly denounced the silence of the Church. We could not ignore it. It was the fault of Cosa Nostra if in those terrible years we did not succeed in publishing an issue that did not talk about the Mafia. The review found the Mafia there without looking for it. the press communiques of the trade unions. But only because the Mafia was the dominant problem. It seemed beyond all doubt that the gravest and most urgent problem of Palermo and Sicily was the Mafia. You cannot understand "Segno" apart from this choral consent. with a leading article entitled Without prophets. Catholic Action (but never of Opus Dei or Communion and Liberation). There is an aspect of the Palermitan anti-Mafia that the review often underscored and promoted: the fact that the civil and cultural opposition to Cosa Nostra cannot be a matter of principle. first and foremost the Italian Communist Party. the anguish. Unlike the overwhelming majority of the Church. the weeping. the parishes. words. the funerals. who behaved as if the Mafia did not exist. While others remained silent. "Segno'"s little group began to thunder against the Mafia and to say that the Mafia phenomenon was radically anti-Christian and that failure to oppose it was gravely sinful. Italians. the fight against the Mafia has de facto been the reviews principal commitment. In issue No. De facto the paper . the sorrow. even from some (but very few) priests. But rather the review of a large number of men and women who wrote. the homilies of the Archbishop. Or distinguished or understood. the widows. humanity. with the risk of running dry within itself. "Segno" was the first Catholic review after the Council to say all this. 10. Isolated. the desperation. To be precise. Spent in the sense of consumed. Attention was always concentrated on the propositional contents. And thus there was practically no issue of the 'eighties that did not speak about the Mafia. who would not perceive the infernal fire that burnt the men of Cosa Nostra and the city. In the last thirty years. sterile. is a force for liberating others. ample though not vast. and not only Sicilian. In "Segno" there is everything: the anger. "II Cristiano d'Oggi" had already begun to talk about the Mafia in the 'sixties. the indignation.

among whom Father Giuseppe Pugliesi was one of the most faithful. understanding the law as a common asset of primary importance. More practice of the law. Having sent out one issue. It was a question of introducing esteem for the law into civil ethics. Let us recall some of the important issues that made (albeit little) history. Opposing the Mafia does not just mean repudiating the violence of others. being anti-Mafia must mean publicly observing the law. Its financial sponsors are its subscribers. It lives precariously in the mist of hardships. who prepared the index of the first ten years of the review. never given to easy infatuations and political fideisms. Sul fronte di Sagunto (On the front of Saguntum). In fact. which documents the mobilization of civil society and the first significant commitment of the Church. More Mafia.The concrete experience of this motive was initiated in August 1987. was among the first to grasp the importance of this experience understood as an exceptional opportunity for the city that could not be wasted. It arrives more or less everywhere. It has known some moments of success. was a great master. 11. Leonardo Sciascia. it constituted a turning point in the history of Palermo and the fight against the Mafia. The great writer kept affirming that the Mafia had to be fought with law. Apart from the results. among them the late Marcello Cimino and Giuliana Saladino. In it . albeit not uncritically. undoubtedly open to question and at times disappointing. but promotion of observation of the law by all. A revolution in the fullest sense of the term. willed into the Courthouse by Rocco Chinnici. Submission to the law as practice of non-Mafia culture. which turned Italy upside down. And of men and groups incapable of understanding ideas and processes not forming part of their own schemes. First of all "Segno" 35/1982. If being Mafiosi means feeling and being concretely exempt from and outside the law. less Mafia. remains possibly the most significant the city has ever known. Another characteristic of "Segno" is its discretion. that Palermitan political experience. we start thinking about the next. the issue published immediately after the assassination of General Dalla Chiesa. "Segno" sustained it. "Segno". as in many other things. 12. In this. less law observed. when Leoluca Orlando formed his "pentacolor" government: the event was probably the most positive that Palermo had known in the second half of the twentieth century. It can rely on excellent collaborators. so that every care had to be dedicated to the acquisition of a proper sense and appreciation of it. dedicating it several monographic issues and numerous studies. but all very ephemeral.fought specifically for constructing something new: legality. It was not by chance that against it there came to be unleashed the opposition of political and cultural forces that have to be described as — to say the least — short-sighted. And then Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.

]: the Mafia. In 1995 "Segno" brought to life the Alfonsian Weeks. "Segno" 209/1999 was a great monographic issue dedicated to Leonardo Sciascia. but prepared by decades of democratic struggle by the left for the liberation of the city and Sicily from Mafia can also find the answers that 26 leading Catholics gave to some questions posed by the review. Turone made to the Castelgandolfo meeting in June 1982 and which we gave the title The Mafia in the sanctuary of the banks. a request for peaceful civic relations. The issue also contains the report that G. the first of which asked (remember that the date is 1982!) "whether the Mafia was a problem that the Church had to face". in which the Archbishop denounced the "three factors that more than any others . They are opened in the Sala delle Lapidi (Hall of the Inscription Tablets) of Palazzo delle Aquile . not only in Sicily. however. "Segno" 101/1989 published a correspondence between the Vatican Secretariate of State and Cardinal Ruffini on the theme of the Mafia and the Ciaculli massacre of 1963. "Segno" 53/1984 published an Article by Aurelio Grimaldi. It also contains an important study by the historian Carlo Marino. "Segno" 93/1988. was the issue of Palermo's political turn guided by Leoluca Orlando. Palermo oltre Sagunto (Palermo beyond Saguntum). who asked Giovanni Falcone for it.. on which Marco Risi based his film Mery per sempre (Mery forever). integral text. against the installation of the missiles at Commiso. governed by reason. the dramatic story of the dead who had stained Palermo with blood in those years. an initiative of a cultural character that takes place each year in the last week of September. In actual fact. Falcone and G. they could be opened anywhere and maintain the same significance.. Processo alia Mafia (Mafia on trial). though it was originally entitled Inquiry techniques in the Mafia field: we had obtained the text from Rocco Chinnici. and also Cronaca di una mattanza (Account of a slaughter). Danilo Dolci". published the most significant parts of the ordinance of the investigating magistrates of the Court of Palermo that was to give rise to the maxi trial commenced on 10 February 1986... Pacifist movement and popular struggles at the beginning of the 'fifties. . The other important document of that issue was the famous pastoral letter of Cardinal Ernesto Ruffini. 13. to underscore that the event is closely connected with the city. entitled The true face of Sicily. Viaggio in un girone della citta violenta (Voyage in a circle of the violent city). dedicated to the movement for peace. the Gattopardo. have contributed" to the organization of "a grave conspiracy to dishonor Sicily [. "Segno" 66/1986. Verso la signoria dei missili (Towards the dominion of the missiles). Another important issue was "Segno" 45/1983. The first Alfonsian Week was dedicated to the them Una cultura mite per la citta (A gentle culture for the city).

the great Lutheran theologian Jiirgen Moltmann. Gospel). has relatively new and elusive characteristics. however. As if to say that a Mafioso could be religious without having anything in common with the Gospel. Violence. The theme Dio. Gherardo Colombo. understood as the fundamental virtue of civil life. the interlocutors including. An almost unpardonable ingenuity that nobody. A number of priests had kept visiting an arrested Mafioso to convert him: a behavior that was equivocal and specious and brought out some not very convincing aspects of a pastoral practice that was far from transparent. The year after it considered trust. The 1999 topic was repentance. In September 2000 we talked about the poor: because the poor come immediately after God. . Whoever wants to know in detail what happened in Palermo in the course of these last thirty years. "Segno" is a useful review: and that is one thing that can be said without any shadow of doubt. must ever commit. There he will find a world of passions and intelligence. Furio Colombo. not even for so-called good purposes. he will find the dream of an island and a world free of the humiliating power of the Mafia. Lastly. seen as an anthropologic force that cannot but concern all of us. where is he?) was tackled by the fifth Week . Massimo D'Alema. The 1997 theme was Religione violenza vangelo (Religion.liberated from the acrimony that tends to poison them. In 2001 we came to grips with the theme of the "uselessness" of Christianity. Above all. especially a Sicilian. to cite only a few of the best known and appreciated personalities. Marciano Vidal. among others. One must be particularly careful to avoid the facile vice of illuminism applied to the Mafia. The Mafia has a long history and it is simply impossible not to be on one's guard and suspicious where this criminal organization is concerned. at times exalting.Today the review is face to face with new and difficult problems. must necessarily turn to it. dov'e? (Who is God. The Mafia question. which nobody should ever dare to put into his service. 14. though terribly identical and monotonous. to draw attention to the delicacy of and respect for the mystery of God. as is typical of all complex phenomena. chi e. Among the rapporteurs of the Alfonsian Weeks we have had Massimo Cacciari. It was sustained that there was a difference between religion and Gospel.

Notwithstanding the good will of individual people and local churches. But. for theology is the critical instrument of ecclesial reflection.e. yet seem so very similar to a certain religiousChristian world? What can the Christian community do in concrete terms? These and similar questions have become more and more pressing in the reflections of the Italian Church and. this very fact makes it necessary to adopt a multidisciplinary approach. given the size of the available Mafia biography . though undoubtedly different. i. we shall limit ourselves to an initial working definition: "Mafia is a series of criminal organizations — among which Cosa Nostra is the most important. we come face to face with various definition possibilities that reflect different cognitive and interpretative itineraries. seeing the problem in various perspectives. has become ever more essential to safeguard the peculiarity of the diaconate that the Church is called upon to offer to the world in which it lives.What model of Church to face the Mafia by Cosimo Scordato What was the perception that the Church had of the Mafia and what had been the Church's attitude towards it? What made it possible for such a phenomenon so profoundly anti-Christian in both its inspiration and its practice to take root in a Christian environment? What part was played by certain expressions of Mafia culture and practice that. configuring a system of violence and illegality aimed at the accumulation of capital and the acquisition and wielding of power. and with all the undoubtedly greater awareness of the Christian community in the face of the Mafia emergency . indeed. Exploring the space for a "Christian approach". more particularly. notwithstanding the pontifical pronouncements of the last few decades. could be considered "specific. we have to admit that we have not yet matured an ecclesial intervention that. the Church in Southern Italy. and yet one can nowadays note a certain convergence as regards the constitutive data of the Mafia association. Here. It is not a matter of chance that recourse should be had to theology in this context. concrete and efficacious". that avail themselves of a cultural code and enjoy a certain social consensus". but not the only one — that act within a vast and ramifiied relational context. original. capable of intertwining with and yet distinguishing itself from other approaches . as the Pope had suggested. .

Without enlarging the Church's faults. . she has to move between prophetic denunciation and the practical purposes of bearing witness. "Recognizing that sin is not a simple personal or individual dimension. on new and creative gestures of the community. we should like to explicit some particularly central aspects of our theme. Mazzillo who . must keep vigil on herself not only in depth. " If the Church wants to avoid the risk of slipping on reality. it remains true that the Church must come to grips with the question.1. it becomes urgent to undertake a reflection that will take its cue from a re-thinking of the Church's very identity at the historic and concrete level. there remain disquietening interweavings within the Christian community. historical experience has clearly shown that. "According to the historico-liberating model. at the same time.. but also in the simplicity of her road. It is rather something that is more profound and. first and foremost. " This time attention has to be concentrated on rendering concrete the community inasmuch as it is committed to translating into the space of solid visibility the true response and alternative to the being and acting of the Mafiosi. a vigorous denunciation of its evil. proposes as a true alternative the design and practice of what he calls the historico-liberating model. " The need for re-thinking the Church model is explicitly assumed by G. but also a social structure and anti-solidarity pact. contemplated. the Church is the People of God on the march with Christ and with men and receives and shares the needs and the hopes of all and. "The question that the sore of the Mafia raises for the Sicilian Church is not that of a sermon against the Mafia. but even more upon the capacity of factual announcement. Within this radical rethinking of being Church. which have indirectly rendered possible the persistence of the Mafia phenomenon.. very simple. so that the next step cannot but be a radical re-thinking of the Church's image and her relationship with society. notwithstanding the gradually growing awareness of the Church. the prophetic denunciation must be accompanied by a pact of solidarity and love that is a concrete project and not just vaguely spiritual or an exhortation. which is nothing other than that of the essentiality and radicality of following the crucified Christ. and conferring credit and strength not only upon denunciation. without resolving this distorted religious mentality in a simplicist manner in the responsibility of the Church. What model of Church? If the Church does not want to exhaust her task in the role of a civil religion. the poor.highlighting the inadequacy of the juridico-hierarchical and mysterico-charismatic ecclesial models.

a political community with personalistic consciousness is in the trim of dialogue. one must never forego the instruments of critique. it fights against every type of alienation of man. but "gives form to practice as tension to produce and develop ever more numerous and qualified conceptual coordinates and practices in which man can be conceived as a free being. just like that of Jesus. vice versa. The members of the community must perceive themselves as a multipolar "we".2. cannot assume and legitimize any institutional models and political formulas. is the creator of human and humanizing values. living her faith as the primary principle of critique of every theory and every practice. 2. It should be expressly recalled that the concrete realization of all this runs the historical risk of obscurity and turbidity. turns each and all its members into protagonists of the community's history. legitimate possessor of the reason of end in the ample intra-mundane and intra-historical horizon and true protagonist of projects that orientate towards the novum and imply going beyond. The following conditions are proposed within the postulate of controllability and the minimum conditions of the theory of the personalistic political community and could lead to the re-thinking of ecclesial life. it has to be clearly affirmed that every form of Constantinism has to be seen as a disguised form of paganism. it is preferable to establish a fecund hermeneutical circuit in which the organization of social life and its thematization with rules of the game and specific limitations capable of safeguarding the minimum conditions of coexistence is assumed as opportunity for re-thinking the ecclesial space and. has to be put 'before' power and not 'by means of" power and dominion. on account of her propositional aspect. " In observing the ecclesial phenomenon. because the witness of the Church. charisma and others could enrich human comprehension of community life. the Church. lastly. but does not exclude struggle). without in any way belittling her mysterico-sacramental aspects.1 Power in the Church First of all. as compared with the twofold stumbling block of those who do not in any way want to objectivate the way they behold the Church and those who observe her by means of a mere transcription of socio-political categories.1 For a non-violent and creative communication Exercise of power in the Church has to be observed with a two fold attention suggested by the ambit of communication. realizes justice in accordance with the logic statute of love (which excludes hate. characterized by her eschatological reserve and contagious memory. the first is that the incumbent of any ecclesial . the Church could offer the diaconate of her reflection wherever such ecclesiological categories as service.1.

as gestures with which God. We could develop within the life of the Church the very methodologies that. and nourishes with himself and has himself assimilated (communion). purifies and restores the transparency of his image and likeness (baptism). Jesus' (baptismal) invitation to his disciples to wash each other's feet has to be seen in its regal capacity of inspiring each and every gesture of the Church when this originary and eschatological divine tenderness constitutes the starting point. With a view to opening up adequate operational horizons. 2. perfumes and replenishes his gifts (confirmation). God. makes himself known as father-mother-brother who stoops over the life of his creature and expresses his relationship of love by taking on loan the tenderness of the mother (or the father) who washes her child. apart from comments proposed in connection with canonical discipline and also the need for an evangelization to integrate the process of sacramentalization that is often mere routine. Perfumed and nourished). could open ample space for intra-ecclesial pluralism. in fact. Very well. thus avoiding the risk of absolutizing his personal perspective for no other reason than the fact that he has the task of deciding in the name of all. through the mediation of the minister of the Church. confirmation and communion) are conceived.ministry should divest himself. The first three sacraments (baptism. There is nothing heavy in the simple transparency of this divine gestural expressiveness that. going beyond stereotyped rituality. should become the style of life of the community. interpretative structures capable of receiving complexity to an ever greater extent and therefore capable of accepting the multiplicity of different points of view and approaches. . which ought to constitute the basis that founds and inspired the whole of Christian life. the second concerns the development of conceptual forms. perfumes it and nourishes it at her breast. strengthens. could facilitate the progress of a critical re-thinking. in analogy with the human condition (at birth man is washed.or at least re-dimension — his personal point of view and assume that of the community. seeing the God has taken it from human language and given it back into the hands of the Church. we should also adopt indications that. we have to rediscover the beauty and the wealth of the symbolic gestures with which God reveals and donates himself to man in the celebrative event. though born and conceived in other conceptual contexts.2Sacramental practice It is well known that even Mafiosi enjoy ample access to sacramental life. when applied to the reception of confessional differences. we should like to draw attention to the radical alternative that the sacraments represent vis-a-vis any kind of Mafia ideal.

we must not lack the critical consciousness of a searching look that will see the many myths (accumulation of money and profit. Face to face with the conviction that poverty. takes steps to commit its best resources of people and means. giving priority to the most urgent needs. In this context even the reconstruction and interpretation of history by the Church has an obligatory point of observation: looking at historical events from the point of view of the oppressed. in Him. but rather fruit of a history and political choices that prolong its duration. every local community has to fall silent (some time or other) and hearken to the multiplicity of laments that rise from within it. we need not only good will and pious desires. the other in the direction of a selfinvolvement of the community who.3 Poor Church or Church of the poor Ecclesial comprehension for the condition of the poor. combined with the choice of poverty. conflicts of power and the like. Listening to these voices implies a twofold response: the first in the direction of an institutional involvement (promotion of adequate services) with the possibility of assessing the suitability of a policy on the basis of the choices made in this field.) the fount of the unbalances that offend the person. victories. every passion of suffering humanity? Have we hearkened to the shout of all those who have suffered violence? 3. the gestures of the world in which there are celebrated personages. ambition of hegemony in various ambits.2. but where are the people to whose laments God lent his ears and with respect to whom he spoke his definitive word? And where is the narration of the passion of the Lord and. etc. Hitherto all historical reconstruction have been far too similar to the narrations. on the one hand. misery are not natural facts like rain or the setting of the sun. wars. social coexistence to the point of lack of international equilibrium. we have to overcome the removal with which the society of wellbeing and economic power keeps everything that could disturb its imperturbability at arm's length. utilizing all the elements of analysis and intervention that reflect the sensitivity and greater awareness of our day and age. but also readiness to change the course of things. On the one hand. indeed. the last. On the other hand. defeats. in this context the Church must not fail to speak . represents the true antidote to the potential of violence accumulated in the course of history. concentration of resources. whereas — quite the contrary — the wealth of ends and intentionality in human relations constitutes the slow alternative to this violence. For a cultural shift What we have in mind here is the importance that attaches to the cultural role of the ecclesial community within a society in which even the Church is running the risk of becoming squashed and flattened.

looking at the world from the point of view of eschatological perfection.) and highlight the need for combining evangelical choices with the places and times of Christian life. popular celebrations. we have to re-think the various interventions of the Church's pastoral work (catechesis. on the other hand. In this difficult task of discernment and accompaniment. etc.the word of denunciation that often concerns the very countries of Christian origin. the Church must cultivate the so-called 'eschatological reserve' in making a distinction between every historical realization and the goal of the kingdom of God. but rather. by means of this reserve we create the conditions for the prophetic attitude that does not remain that does not remain imprisoned by the dazzling allure of contemporary conquests. . tends to highlight and underscore the undeniable limits that are associated with even the best projects.

Leoluca Orlando. the renaissance process which is going on in Sicily even through difficulties and resistances is a shining example of how communities can work together to reduce crime and corruption and enhance the quality of life of their people. Media Network (Italian national public relations firm). member of the Sicilian Parliament. and it maintains an office in Washington D. Roy Godson. President. Vice President of LIBERA (Italian national consortium of civic associations). seminars and educational exchange. and Andrea Scrosati. . Vice President: Dr. nonprofit organization by a group of Italian and American civil society leaders. The SRI is based in Palermo. political and economic development. Its policy and direction is set by an international Board of Directors. Palermo and other communities over the island have been making in recent years a significant comeback to lawfulness and democratic culture. Wole Soyinka.. Italy. The Sicilian Renaissance Institute (also named Istitutoper il Rinascimento Siciliand) was founded in Palermo on November 29. and co-operate with institutions. Rita Borsellino. The National Strategy Information Center. USA. Specifically. Nobel Laureate in Literature and Professor at Emory University. President. Following decades of Mafia control. the Institute will: facilitate an understanding of the recent Sicilian experience in this field through publications. Professor at the Georgetown University. Honorary Director for Culture is Prof. 1999 as a nongovernmental.C.The Sicilian Reinassance Institute Statement of purpose Sicily is undergoing a remarkable transformation. based on a revival of citizenship participation and commitment. The members of the current SRI Board of Directors are: President: Hon.. The Sicilian Renaissance Institute (SRI) is designed to foster civic renewal throughout the island and to provide information and inspiration to interested regions and communitites around the world. Prof. former Mayor of Palermo and member of the European and Italian Parliaments. D. Honorary President is Cardinal Salvatore Pappalardo. communities and individual in Sicily and elsewhere to encourage the adoption of civic initiatives designed to strengthen a culture of lawfulness and democracy aiming at preventing and mitigating the effects of crime and corruption.C. Palermo Archbishop Emeritus. audiovisual material. Washington. In a world where organized crime and corruption have become major impediments to democratic. Counselors: Prof.

the Sicilian experience in the promotion of a culture of lawfulness was also illustrated and discussed by SRI representatives at numerous highlevel international conferences. In addition to the above. as well as to individual politicians. religious and educational associations. likewise printed in two versions (in Italian. were also inserted in the SRI Internet site. as well as their effective practices and the results obtained. This publication was subsequently updated and reprinted in October 2000. in Italian. The first of these.. Among these mention might here be made of the following: the Tenth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime held in Vienna in April 2000. foundations.000 copies for each version. held in Philadelphia in July 2000. together with other information. "Creating a Culture of Lawfulness: The Palermo. printed and distributed on a worldwide scale to international organizations. with a total run of in the course of which the SRI President. civic. The second was a 70-page publication.Activities completed Ever since its foundation the SRI has carried out an intense research and documentation activity on the ongoing process of civic renewal in Sicily.sicilianrenaissance. public bodies. seminars and meetings. the biannual Convention of the American Federation of Teachers. www. The contents of the latter publication. This knowledge-spreading effort was made first of all by means of two publications that the SRI prepared. the other. and has subsequently disseminated worldwide its findings about the principles that have inspired the initiatives undertaken in this field by the various components of Sicily's civil society. entitled "II Rinascimento di Palermo: Fatti e opinioni". "Per un cultura di levalita: il Rinascimento di Palermo". originally published and distributed in February 2000. government agencies. Sicily Renaissance") distributed since December 2000 in more than 5000 copies. was printed in two 34-page versions (one. Leoluca Orlando. in English. entitled "The Palermo Renaissance: A Real-life Civics Course'). received the AFT Human Rights Award "Bayard Rustin". educators. the Georgetown University's Executive Leadership Seminar on the theme "Strategic . in English. trade unionists and other civic leaders in many countries interested in the promotion of a culture of lawfulness as an effective complementary strategy to prevent and reduce the effects of crime and corruption. newspapers and journals.

held in Los Angeles in August 2000. May 2002. on the theme "Trafics et mafias: les Etats impuissant?". Stokerochford. Petersburg. Rebuilding and Reconciliation". the participation to the conference "Europe: a cure against the mafia". Luxembourg. France. New York on the 1 lth -12th of March 2002. the International Leaders Forum of the National Democratic Institute of the United States. the lesson on "Culture of lawfulness and crime prevention: the role of the public administration" held at the Faculty of Economy of the Havana University in the framework of the training course for public managers. a joint initiative by The National Union of Teachers of England and Wales and American Federation of teachers. the eighth edition of the "Rencontres Internationales du Memorial pour la Prevention des Conflits".the role and the responsibilities of local Authorities". participation to the European Conference on "Tackling terrorism . held in Caen. the participation to the Eurasian-American Seminar on crime and terrorism prevention: "the spaces of crime. September 2002. September 2002. organized by Columbia University. the First National Conference on "Building Sound Communities in the Transition of Mexico" held in Mexico City in January 2001. in July 2000. January 2002. in October 2001 . UK. France. held in Antibes. Scotland. the participation to the series of seminars and conferences on "Culture of lawfulness: the Sicilian model" organized by the German Universities in February 2002. the ceremony held at St. Mexico City. corruption and terrorism" organized by the magazine Limes. in November 2001. in March 2002. the participation to the international conference "Building Sound CommunitiesSecurity: a commitment for everybody" organized by the cultural Institute "Ludwig von Mises". the participation to the memorial ceremonies of the six months anniversary of the tragic events of September the 11th: "Response. DC.Approaches to Transnational Crime and Civil Society". organised by the Chamber of local authorities of the Council of Europe. held in Washington. Rome. held in Vancouver. Russia. Canada. the meeting of the Young President's Organization International held in Venice in June 2001. during which the SRI President was awarded with the Puskin Prize 2001. participation to the seminar "Enhancing democracy: transatlantic perspectives of the role of educators". July 2002. Cuba. . the symposium on the theme "Fostering a Culture of Lawfulness on the Island of Ireland" held at Gleneagles. in October 2001. 14th-18th of March 2002. the participation to the United Nations experts meeting on crime prevention.

assess these experiences and study possible ways in which they could be autonomously applied in their own reality. etc. educators. Dubrovnik. the different reference values. Botswana. professionals. an international three-day symposium on "The Role of Civil Society in the Fight Against Organized Crime: Global Implications of the Palermo Renaissance" held at Palermo in December 2000 as part of the official program of the High-Level Signing Conference for the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime. Georgia. but always in the perspective of respect for and valorisation of the different cultures. teachers and religious authorities to become familiar with what has already been done in Palermo.participation to the II Euromoney Conference. The concrete results obtained in Palermo in the struggle against organised crime were recognised by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations: in the last guidelines for the prevention of crime (February 2002) it indicates the necessity of actively promoting culture of lawfulness as a tool in this field. Detailed reports on this theme were presented not only by leaders of the Sicilian renewal and the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations.) visited Palermo either in official delegations or working groups. journalists. . businessmen. but also by authoritative representatives of such countries as Hong Kong. stimulus and mutual enrichment. Croatia. journalists. appropriate publications and debates and seminars are the instruments for spreading knowledge of what has been done in Palermo. are moment of confrontation. A similar activity of illustrating the Sicilian experience in matters of education for lawfulness has also been performed by SRI representatives on numerous occasions when foreign leaders (government representatives. The sending out of our delegations or the presence of foreign delegations in Palermo and Sicily. The SRI also organized — either directly or in collaboration with supporting institutions — the following events intended to encourage the adoption of civic initiatives against organized crime in countries particularly at risk: a five-day seminar on the theme of "The Cultural Approach in the Fight Against Crime and Corruption" held in Palermo in May 2000 for an official delegation of the Republic of Georgia. organised by Euromoney Istitutional Investor. Our method of intervention is both simple and innovative: it is based on the "simple" communication of an experience without any direct intervention in the countries concerned: we rely on bilateral exchanges to enable social operators. politicians. October 2002. Mexico and the United States.

Algeria. among them Peru. Tunisia. the Institute has carried out a series of activities intended to encourage civic renewal in other parts of Sicily. undertaken in this island by means of publications. the Mexican government. audiovisual materials and other informational channels. basing recently decided to render the teaching of the culture of legality obligatory in all the elementary and basic schools. and will be. further. with a view to adopting joint initiatives aimed at promoting civic education and a culture of lawfulness in various regions of the world.a five-day seminar on "Countering Crime Through Culture" held in Palermo in September 2001 for an official delegation from Mexico.. Lastly. intense activities were undertaken in the various cities of the United States of Mexico: indeed. In particular. Furthermore. Nigeria. particularly in the European area. . Albania. and in January 2000 promoted — making also a considerable contribution to its actual organization — a meeting in Palermo of representatives of Italian civil society that sought to maintain a high level of attention in the fight against the Mafia. Vietnam. to expand the dissemination abroad of the effective practices and results of the cultural anticrime initiatives that have been. The SRI is also planning a series of educational exchanges (in the form of seminars to be held in Sicily or participation of representatives of Sicily's civil society in conferences held abroad) with countries particularly interested in adopting a similar cultural approach in their struggle against organized crime. in the light of the Palermitan experience. terrorism and corruption. In the course of 2002. the Institute is intensifying its activities aimed at promoting a culture of lawfulness in all parts of Sicily and. as well as with governmental agencies and NGO's of other countries. Morocco. the Institute intends to collaborate with global institutions. El Salvador.

Biographies Salvatore Di Cristina. was born at Bagheria (Palermo) in 1948. subsequently continuing at the Patristics Institute of the Lateran University. where he performed various functions. a review of political and theological culture that he founded in 1975. Is Prelate of Honour of H. where he is in charge of the "Saint Francis Saverio" Social Centre. For the last eight years has organized the Alfonsian Weeks at Palermo each year. At present is editor of "Segno". For many years he has dedicated himself to a project for the rehabilitation and moral renewal of Palermo's Albergheria quarter. is Titular Bishop of Bilta and Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Palermo. Born in 1937. he is now a lecturer in theology at the Theological Faculty of Sicily. he prepared some of the shorter works of Alfonso de Liguori (1696-1787) for publication: "Degli obblighi de giudici. and later became Dean of the Theological Faculty of Sicily. attorneys. Among others. 2000. At present is member of the Pastoral Secretariat of the Sicilian Episcopal Conference. avvocati. He set up and for ten years directed the Diocesan School of Basic Theology and is Consultor of the Roman Congregation for Catholic Education. completed his studies at the Palermo Archiepiscopal Seminary and was ordained priest in 1960.H. taught philosophy and pedagogy in teacher-training colleges. Ordained priest in 1972. Cosimo Scordato. where he obtained his Doctorate in Theology and Patristic Sciences. Nino Fasullo. Redemptorist Father. . For several years he was a teacher at the Palermo Seminary. John Paul II and President (Ciantro) of the Cathedral's Metropolitan Chapter. prosecutors and the guilty). "Maria Nostra Avvocata" (Mary Our Attorney). 1998. accusatori e rei" (About the obligations of judges.

Published by/Stampa a cura di: The Sicilian Renaissance Institute Project Manager/Redazione:' Pietro Galluccio Translation from Italian/Traduzioni dall'italiano: Herbert Garrett Cover design/Grafica della copertina: Studio Triskeles. Palermo August 2002 Agosto 2002 . Palermo Printed by/stampato da: Tipografia Vivirito.