• Procession in 'ndrangheta stronghold detoured to pass mobster's home
• The 82-year-old convicted murderer was inside under house arrest
• It's less than a month since Francis excommunicated 'ndrangheta members
Less than a month after Pope Francis excommunicated members of the mob, a church procession has apparently defied him by changing route to honour a convicted gangster.
The procession through Oppido Mamertina, a Calabrian town and stronghold of the 'ndrangheta crime syndicate, detoured to pass the home of an 82-year-old convicted murderer.
The mayor, local clergy, parents pushing baby strollers and dozens of local men carrying an ornate Madonna statue marched past the home of the killer who, because of his age, was allowed to serve out his life sentence under house arrest.
Interior Minister Angelino Alfano on Sunday denounced the tribute as 'deplorable and disgusting' and praised three Carabinieri policemen who abandoned the procession in disapproval.
Carabinieri officer Andrea Marino said he and his fellow officer walked away from the July 2 procession after the detour and headed to the church to complain about what happened.
One of Calabria's anti-Mafia prosecutors, Nicola Gratteri, told The Associated Press that the detour to the mobster's house appeared to be a 'challenge to the diktat' of Francis.
The 'ndrangheta, a global cocaine trafficker, is one of the world's most powerful crime syndicates. Religious rituals hold an important place in the mobsters' mentality.
On June 21, Francis, visiting Calabria, had denounced the 'ndrangheta for its 'adoration of evil' and said its members were excommunicated.
The town's bishop said he would take 'measures' against those who exploited the procession to defy Pope Francis, pictured right in Calabria on the day he denounced and excommunicated members of the 'ndragheta
Oppido Mamertino's bishop, Monsignor Francesco Milito, said he would take undescribed 'measures' against those exploiting the church procession to pay homage to the local boss.
Elsewhere in southern Italy, other 'ndrangheta members appeared to have paid attention to the pope's words but perhaps not in the way he intended.
Another bishop, Monsignor Giancarlo Bregantini, told Vatican Radio Sunday that some 200 inmates in the maximum-security section of Larino prison told their chaplain they would boycott Mass.
They reasoned that if they had been excommunicated it made no sense for them to attend anymore