Christianity

Godfather crackdown: Sicilian bishop bars mafia in baptisms

A shot from "The Godfather."

A shot from "The Godfather."  (AP)

Vito Corleone might want to make a Sicilian bishop an offer he can't refuse.

In a move to tamp down on the mafia's influence, the bishop reportedly barred any known members of the mob from serving as godfathers in Catholic baptisms.

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“The mafia has always taken the term 'godfather' from the church to give its bosses an air of religious respectability, whereas in fact the two worlds are completely incompatible,” Michele Pennisi, the bishop of Monreale, said.

Pennisi's diocese actually includes Corleone, the village that served as the fictional birthplace for the iconic character in Mario Puzo's novel "The Godfather" -- and the Oscar-winning movie, The Guardian reported.

The bishop said he knew it would be tough to enforce his new decree, since the mafia typically operates under a culture of silence.

“If someone has not been convicted we cannot judge people on rumors, without proof,” he added.

Just last month, he condemned a priest for allowing the son of mobster Toto Riina to serve as a godfather, the BBC reported.

Click for more from The Guardian.