casamonica3If it weren’t so serious, it would be downright funny. Here we are in the Italian capital – the  capital!!!!  – and somehow the family of a deceased criminal is allowed to hold a mega-funeral in the Italian capital, blocking streets and causing public transport in the eastern Romanina neighborhood to be re-routed, with a procession led by a gold-trimmed horse-drawn black coach (six black horses!) accompanied by trumpeters playing the theme song from The Godfather and with huge signs proclaiming him to be Re di Roma, the king of Rome.

Somehow, despite the need for security in a period of growing terrorist threats, a helicopter from the Naples area was able – without authorization and even more worryingly without interference – to fly over the church at an illegally low level and distribute rose petals to the 1500  or so mourners. Press reports say that there were plenty of city police at the scene who seemed to be trying to help to keep things organized. And several Casamonica relatives under house arrest were given permission to attend. This means that Rome police were not taken totally by surprise.

But the real question is why did Rome authorities – the mayor, and above all the prefect, who is the local representative of the government –  allow such a public spectacle by a well-known crime family, when there is a law on the books allowing them to curb overdone funeral arrangements. Why did the anti-crime police know this was being planned and why did they do nothing to stop it. The Casamonica clan, originally from the Abruzzi region, and reportedly tied to the Calabrian mafia, the ‘Ndrangheta,  is said to be involved in extortion, drug trafficking, recycling, prostitution, usury, betting, robbery, gambling and murder, so allowing such a blatant display of wealth and vulgarity is difficult to grasp. All the more so, since November 5, 2015 will see the opening hearing in the so-called Mafia Capitale trial in which 59 politicians, clan members and bureaucrats are charged with corruption.

And let’s not forget that the parish priest of the Don Bosco church claims he had no idea that Vittorio Casamonica had been the head of one of this area’s most powerful organized crime syndicates nor did he seem to be troubled by the fact that a only 14 months ago, Pope Francis said that old members of the Mafia were to be considered as excommunicated. And by the way, this was the same Church that denied, on orders of the Vatican, a Catholic funeral to euthanasia activist, Piergiorgio Welby when he died (after he was taken off a respirator) in December, 2006.


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