“To change, each of us is needed…”. Don Luigi Ciotti at the Trame Festival in Lamezia


By John

«Differentiated autonomy: we cannot address the scandal of social inequalities in our country, a nation that has around ten million people living in relative poverty. Autonomy cannot be differentiated because it is a common good. God is not Catholic, God belongs to everyone and he wants us all with the same dignity. We have a text, namely our Constitution, which was created to unite and not to divide. But, evidently, there is a dream of secession in someone’s head.”. Strong and passionate words from Don Luigi Ciotti, founder of the association “Free, names and numbers against the mafias” who was a guest at one of the many meetings of Trame 13, the book festival against the mafias, underway in Lamezia.

In a small San Domenico square packed with people, pressed by questions from Patty Torchia, a La7 journalist, the priest pointed the finger at the Calderoli bill on differentiated autonomy approved by Parliament in recent days. “Our Constitution – remarked the priest – is made for everyone. President Pertini told us that the first real way to fight against the mafia is the application of the Constitution on which our Republic is founded.”

To the many present in the square, Don Ciotti said: «Be proud to be Calabrian. In this land the beautiful must emerge but also the wrong. If there is a terrible disease – she commented – it is delegation, wanting to leave things to do to others. There are the neutrals, the grumblers; just as there is resignation in stating that things will never change.” «In reality – argued Don Ciotti – change needs each of us. There are moments in which silence is a sin while speaking is a moral obligation.”

The founder of Libera then recalled Pope Francis’ first meeting with the families of the innocent victims of the mafia on 20 March 2014. A moment of great emotion that the Holy Father strongly wanted to experience, at the request of Don Ciotti himself. On that occasion Pope Bergoglio asked on his knees the men and women of the mafia to repent, to convert, not to continue living to do evil. On the following 21 June, Pope Bergoglio went to Cassano allo Jonio where a few months earlier Nicola (Cocò) Campolongo, a three-year-old boy, had been barbarously killed. The founder of Libera recalled that in the Calabrian town the pontiff said that «the ‘ndrangheta is the adoration of evil, contempt for the common good. An evil that must be fought and removed from the Church. The men of the ‘ndrangheta are not in communion with God, they are excommunicated. The Pope’s words – Don Ciotti then said – leave no room for the reticence of the past because there is complete incompatibility between the mafias and the Gospel. God calls us to account for being true people. The Church, which is interested in the profound dimension of people, has certainly grown a lot but there is still a long way to go all together: societies, institutions, associations, the ecclesial world”.

The exhortation to report, to say “no” by those who suffer the harassment of criminal gangs, also started from the square of Lamezia. «In any case it is not enough to cut the “bad grass” on the surface, we must eradicate the evil at the root – stated Don Ciotti –. We also need targeted social policies: home, work, school, services. Long-term and not short-term investments by those who govern. Today the mafias are stronger in the North but here in the South the “mother house” remains. Politics must reflect: more facts and fewer slogans.”

After the meeting with Don Ciotti, Trame 13 hosted the prosecutor of Naples Nicola Gratteri and the writer Antonio Nicaso who presented the book «Il grifone. How technology is changing the face of the ‘ndrangheta”. Today is the final day.