19 Mar 2017

Mafia 'godfather' banned from baptisms

6:19 pm on 19 March 2017

An archbishop in Sicily is taking steps to reclaim the term "godfather" from the mafia - by banning gangsters from taking on the role at baptisms.

Marlon Brando in the godfather, 1971

Marlon Brando in The Godfather, 1 Photo: PHOTO12.COM - COLLECTION CINEMA / PHOTO12 - via AFP

The diocese of Michele Pennisi includes the notorious village of Corleone, a vendetta-torn enclave made famous by Mario Puzo's novel The Godfather.

Archbishop Pennisi said he wanted to challenge the idea crime bosses had a paternal side.

He said the mafia took the term "godfather" to give its bosses an air of religious respectability, when, in fact, the two worlds were incompatible.

His decree banned anyone convicted of "dishonorable crimes" from acting as a godparent.