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Mafia Leaders Express Their "Faith"

Award-winning investigative journalist Petra Reski is one of the world's leading experts on the Italian mafia. Her book, The Honored Society: A Portrait of Italy's Most Powerful Mafia, delves into the personal lives and the faith of its members and supporters. "Faith' in God and living like a Mafioso are fairly common in the strange world of Italian mobsters.

For example, Sicilian Mafioso Marcello Fava, who later left his mafia clan, told an Italian journalist: "Before I had to kill someone, I would cross myself. I would say: 'Dear God, stand by me! Make sure nothing happens!' But I wasn't the only one who crossed himself beforehand and prayed to God. We all did."

When mafia boss Bernardo Provenzano was arrested, the police found him with five Bibles, with hundreds of his own margin comments and passages underlined. In his home were 91 sacred statues, 73 of them Christ figures. Each one of them bore the inscription: Jesus, I put my trust in you. Mafia boss Michele Greco has four books in his prison cell: two liturgical books, the gospels, and a book entitled Pray, Pray. During his trial, when asked for an explanation to his many murders, he merely replied: "I have an invaluable gift—inner peace."

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