Pope Francis swarmed by a superfluity of nuns
Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe could be heard through the microphone urging restraint and making light-hearted commentary.
“Sisters… Later… Well, would you look at that”,- he said. “And these are the cloistered ones. Just imagine the non-cloistered ones. You are going to eat him!”.
Nuns listen to Pope Francis in Naples’ Cathedral on Saturday
The Pope was holding an event in Naples cathedral to meet priests, religious leaders and seminarians on his one-day visit to the city on Saturday.
He also toured some of Naples’ poorest, most crime-infested quarters, the heartlands of the city’s mafia.
In places like Scampia, youth unemployment is rampant. Many wind up working for the Naples-based crime syndicate as drug couriers or extortionists, shaking down merchants for so-called “protection money.”
The worst problem is not having the possibility to bring home the bread, to earn it with dignity, Francis said.
Pope Francis with gifts during a meeting with prelates in Naples’ Cathedral on Saturday
He cited the widespread use of black market jobs in a city like Naples, where many work in clandestine garment factories or sell bootleg cigarettes or counterfeit electronic goods on the street.
But Francis also denounced the exploitation in legal jobs that require long hours for low pay. He told Neapolitans he heard about a young woman who was offered a job in the tourism sector paying 600 euros ($650) monthly for 11-hour days.
“If you don’t like it, look at the line of people who are waiting for work”,-Francis said. “This is called slavery, this is called exploitation”.
Pope Francis greeting the crowd after a mass at the Piazza del Plebiscito on Saturday in Naples
Later, in his homily in Naples’ main square, Francis urged tens of thousands of people to hold on to hope and resist the easy earnings or dishonest income of drug trafficking. He called on Mafiosi and their accomplices to abandon their criminal ways.
Francis spent lunchtime at the Poggioreale prison, dining with some of the inmates in a large room normally used as a chapel, the Vatican said. Their time together was private, but Italian media reported the inmates prepared a simple pasta meal and a group of transsexuals were among the group.
Neapolitan spirits might have well gotten a boost when, in the cathedral, Francis kissed a vial containing the blood of the city’s patron saint, Januarius, known to Italians as San Gennaro, and the bishop said the blood partially liquefied. Popular tradition holds that if the blood liquefies prosperity will come to Naples.