I know a little about this kind of thing, I am half Italian and half German, my mom was 100% Italian and came from a very ‘Italian’ family, her brother, who lived/ lives in NJ was involved in some shady things, her uncles and brothers were also somewhat involved in this around the OH area. Im not going into details about them or their business.
I will just say there was a time years back that I was quite interested in going down this path, I was drawn to the money mostly, but thankfully I never went ahead with it and now have no interest in that lifestyle.
It does not surprise me to hear the Pope singling the Italian Mafia out, seems they are still pretty powerful in Italy…They are still fairly powerful in the states too, but its more hidden these days, they dont flash their power and money like they used to, but they still run and control sports betting, still give out loans, still extort money(mostly from businesses for protection), etc.
the only thing that makes me disagree somewhat with the Pope, those people that the Mafia target, they are by no means innocent people, they knew what they were getting involved in when they took the loan, asked a favor, or started doing business with them, everyone knows the risks and knows what happens if you do not obey the rules, so they are not really innocent, I also question how a 4 yr old was killed by Mafia, I think this may have been done by someone else, the Mafia does not usually go after family members, especially kids, so I have a feeling the person that shot this kid was someone other than a Mafia member.