Pope Francis blasts mafia, corruption in Naples visit

NAPLES, Italy -- Pope Francis was in Naples this weekend. He visited one of the city's toughest neighborhoods and spoke out against the mafia as well as corrupt politicians.

Francis boldly went where the law fears to go and told people to stand up against organized crime.

In a neighborhood infested by the Camorra, the local mafia, he called for an end to what he termed "the tears of the mothers of Naples."

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Pope Francis speaks to the faithful in Naples. CBS News

"Corrupt society stinks," said Francis. "We all have the potential to be corrupt and to slip into criminality."

Youth unemployment runs as high as 40 percent in the poor areas of Naples, pushing many into the web of drug dealing and protection racket enforcement.

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The reception was ecstatic, but Francis was in the belly of the beast and security was understandably tight.

Last year, he said mafia members had "excommunicated themselves" and were condemned to hell unless they repented.

At a mass in Naples' main square, he urged the faithful to resist the "easy earnings or dishonest income" of drug-trafficking.

Concern for the poor has been a trademark of his papacy and Francis denounced what he called "the slavery of exploitation" by bosses who take advantage of desperation by offering low pay and poor conditions.

"When you can't earn your bread," he said, "you lose your dignity."

In another signature gesture, Francis had lunch with 120 prisoners, including a group of transsexuals.

Francis ended his day by kissing a vial of blood from the city's patron saint.

It was allegedly partially liquified, which in popular tradition means Naples will prosper.