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Prosecutor: 'Ndrangheta may be targeting Pope Francis

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ROME, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- The powerful Calabrian mob 'Ndrangheta could be targeting Pope Francis because leaders fear his efforts to reform the Catholic Church, a prosecutor says.

Nicola Gratteri, a state prosecutor in Calabria in southern Italy, said Francis makes 'Ndrangheta "very nervous," Religion News Service reported.

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"I cannot say if the organization is in a position to do something like this, but they are dangerous and it is worth reflecting on," Gratteri said. "If the godfathers can find a way to stop him, they will seriously consider it."

'Ndrangheta, one of four organized crime groups in southern Italy, is not as well known as the Sicilian Mafia or the Neapolitan Camorra. But investigators believe the group is now the most powerful one.

Gratteri, who has been under police protection for more than 20 years, said the church has been complicit in money laundering and other financial activities carried out by 'Ndrangheta. But he said Francis is removing the "poles of economic power in the Vatican."

'Ndrangheta leaders have close ties to senior members of the clergy and members of the group tend to be devout Catholics, Gratteri said.

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"A gunman from the 'Ndrangheta will pray and kiss his rosary before shooting someone," he said.

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