Polluters Shouldn’t Receive Communion, Says Italian Archbishop

Eldon Press/ZUMA Press

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The archbishop of Naples, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, told reporters last week that people who pollute the environment are “not in the grace of God” and cannot receive Catholic communion.

Sepe made his comment at the tenth annual convention of Greenaccord, a Christian environmental group. For decades in Sepe’s city of Naples, the mafia buried toxic waste products around the city, which experts have linked to local cancer clusters. The Camorra, as the mafia is known in Naples, still truck in waste from all over Italy—but they no longer control dump sites. In recent weeks, noxious trash that the mafia allegedly left to rot in Naples’ streets has been making headlines and causing violent riots.

“We need to tell the truth to people about what happened,” Sepe said on Wednesday, according to the Italian publication Andkronos. “But we also need to stress the positive action that has already been taken. It is time for everyone to unite and continue to free our earth of poisons.”

Sepe’s remarks are unusual. Typically, when Catholic leaders make high-profile pronouncements about who is unfit for communion, their targets are American politicians who support abortion. An American cardinal recently declared that Nancy Pelosi should not receive the Catholic sacrament because of her pro-choice views, and whether Joe Biden should take communion is a matter of perennial debate.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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