ROME - Pope Francis on Sunday visited a once-tranquil seaside community outside Rome that has become a power center of mafia violence and political corruption and urged residents to break away from the "moorings of fear."
For decades popes have held the traditional Corpus Christi feast Mass and subsequent procession in the center of Rome, walking between two magnificent basilicas.
This year Francis chose to move the event to two working-class parishes in Ostia, a district about 30 km (17 miles) from the center with a population of about 230,000 people, to show solidarity with anguished and frightened residents.
In his homily during a Mass from the steps of the first church, he used the word "omerta," which refers to the code of silence organized crime groups impose on their members and the fear they use as a tool to keep others from talking to police.
"Jesus wants the walls of indifference and 'omerta' to be breached, iron bars of oppression and arrogance torn asunder, and paths cleared for justice, civility and legality," he said.