The incredibly faithful and courageous Pope Francis has just excommunicated the entire Italian mafia: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/... .
I'm not sure if the Pope is regarded as having the power under canon law to formally excommunicate an entire category of criminals. But that's the language he used, and that is how people are interpreting what he said.
He has been outraged in particular by the deaths of innocent children in Mafia violence.
Pope Francis is 77. He only has one lung after a childhood illness. There have been recent rumors that he is in poor health, since he's been working so hard.
He drives his security people crazy. He won't use the armored popemobile. He wanders out into crowds.
I saw an article today stating that Italian prosecutors now fear his life is in danger from the Mafia.
Pope Francis was quoted recently to the effect that at his age, he doesn't have much to lose, and he's confident God will protect him as long as it's God's will.
As so often with this pope, I'm astonished, humbled, grateful, encouraged.
I have company coming over, so I won't be able to participate in a comments thread, if any. But I was sure many of you will be amazed by this news.