The Bible tells us to be “good stewards of the Earth,” and many religious leaders feel that it’s a sin to disregard the planet. Nowhere has this been more evident than in Naples, Italy, where Archbishop Crescenizo Sepe recently announced that he plans to deny communion to those who pollute the community. The bold statement came after it was discovered that local mafia members have been burying cancer-inducing toxic waste around the city. “Those who pollute are not in the grace of God and can not take communion,’ Sepe told local journalists. Reuters reports that mafia involvement in crimes against the environment yield a turnover of €6 billion ($8.8 billion) a year.

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The toxic waste scandal involves The Camorra, which is Naples’ equivalent of the Cosa Nostra mafia of Sicily. As recently as the mid-1990s, this family controlled the entire waste cycle in Naples, profiting from every aspect of the system.

“The Camorra filled the dumps, not just with household trash but also with industrial waste trucked in from around Italy. This traffic remains one of organized crime’s most lucrative activities rivaling, and possibly exceeding, narcotics for profitability,” reports Reuters.

According to Archibishop Crescenzio Sepe, this practice is unacceptable in the eyes of God.

“Our people have to be told the truth about what has happened. But it is also necessary to talk about all the positive things that have been done. It is time for everyone to unite and continue to free our earth of poisons,” he told journalists at the 10th International Forum of the Christian environmentalist group Greenaccord.

The Archbishop also said he had ordered local priests, deacons and lay brothers to be more aware of the Church’s role in public ethics. For those who adhere to the Catholic faith, being denied communion is a serious threat. Is it possible that being denied access to the sacrament will overcome the allure of profit for these polluters? Only time will tell.

Via Huffington Post

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