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Pope warns of organized crime trying to cash in on pandemic

Pope warns of organized crime trying to cash in on pandemic
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Pope FrancisPope FrancisBishops to debate banning communion for president Vatican warns bishops not to deny communion to Biden, politicians over abortion We must end the nuclear threat before it ends us MORE spoke out against organized crime on Sunday, warning that "mafias" around the world were engaged in efforts to profit off of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Reuters reported that the remarks came as part of an address for an Italian day of remembrance for victims of organized crime, which has plagued Italy for centuries.

"Mafias are present in various part of the world and, taking advantage of the pandemic, they are enriching themselves through corruption," he said, according to Reuters.

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"Today, let us remember all the victims and renew our commitment against mafias," the pope added.

Francis has taken a hardline stance against organized crime as pope and last year gave his support to a Vatican effort aimed at separating Christian imagery from organized criminal groups.

Interpol officials warned in December that members of organized crime groups could seek to steal shipments of COVID-19 vaccines or attempt to sell fraudulent vaccines on the black market.

“Criminal networks will also be targeting unsuspecting members of the public via fake websites and false cures, which could pose a significant risk to their health, even their lives," said the agency's secretary general at the time. "It is essential that law enforcement is as prepared as possible for what will be an onslaught of all types of criminal activity linked to the COVID-19 vaccine, which is why INTERPOL has issued this global warning.”