Italian criminal organizations often claim to be the defenders of the local traditions, paying particular attention to religious ones.
After all, after the Italian annexation of Rome the Holy See used Southern bandits against the Italian State, just like in 1799 Cardinal Fabrizio Ruffo had enlisted bandits in his Holy Faith Army to reconquer the France-sponsored Neapolitan Republic for the conservative Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
During the Cold War, an ambiguous State-Church-organized crime triangle was used to hold the Italian Communist Party in check in the poor Southern regions.
In the Roman Cathedral of Saint Apollinaire you will find, in a privileged position, the tomb of Enrico de Pedis, the boss of a criminal gang which terrorized the capital between the Seventies and the Nineties. To be buried within a church, you need a special permission by Church Authorities.
Last week, the Prefecture of Vibo Valenzia ordered two traditional religious processions in the Province to be entirely handled by personnel of the local Emergency Services after investigations had revealed that they were fully controlled by local organized crime, with bosses and henchmen claiming the exclusive right to transport the Mary’s and Saints’ statues.
However, only one of the two processions took place, while the other was annulled under pressure by the local population. Also the local Bishop didn’t appreciate the meddling by secular Authorities.