Anti-Mafia judge considered to be a martyr


The Church is considering Judge Rosario Livatino, who was killed by the Mafia in 1990 at the age of 37 as a martyr. He will become the first Italian anti-mafia judge to be beatified,

On Monday Pope Francis gave his approval to the request of Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, to formally recognise that the judge was killed in odium fidei (in hatred of the faith) which is the traditional way of describing martyrdom. This will clear the way for the beatification of Livatino even without a recognized miracle.

The deep faith and religiosity of Livatino is recognised by all. He regularly participated in Mass at St. Dominic’s Church in Canicatti and prayed daily at the Church of St. Joseph in Agrigento.
One of the phrases he is known for is “It’s not important that we’re believers,” he said. “It’s important that we’re believable.”

The Mafiosi hated him and riddled his car with bullets in September 1990. The killers were members of the Stidda clan who acted because Livatino confiscated large sums of their stolen money and arrested many bosses.

Some would say that the Mafia did not kill him because of his religiosity and so should not be considered a martyr. However, Cardinal Semeraro quoted St. Thomas Aquinas who said that martyrdom happens not only ‘in hatred of the faith’ but also in hatred of the virtue of justice, “which is connected to a willingness to offer one’s life as a witness of Christ.”
The beatification ceremony of Livatino is expected to take place in Sicily next spring.

During an audience Pope Francis authorized the publication of Decrees also regarding:

  • the heroic virtue of the Servant of God Vasco de Quiroga, Bishop of Michoacán, Mexico; born around 1470 in Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Spain; died in Pátzcuaro, Mexico on 14 March 1565;
  • the heroic virtue of the Servant of God Bernardino Piccinelli (né Dino), of the Order of the Servants of Mary [Servites], titular Bishop of Gaudiaba and Auxiliary of Ancona; born 24 January 1905 died at Ancona, Italy on 1 October 1984;
  • the heroic virtue of the Servant of God Antonio Vincenzo González Suárez, diocesan Priest; born 5 April 1817 at Agüimes, Spain; died at Las Palmas, Spain, on 22 June 1851;
  • the heroic virtue of the Servant of God Antonio Seghezzi, diocesan Priest; born 25 August 1906 in Premolo, Italy; died at Dachau, Germany, on 21 May 1945;
  • the heroic virtue of the Servant of God Bernardo Antonini, diocesan Priest; born 20 October 1932 at Cimego, Italy; died at Karganda, Kazakhstan on 27 March 2002;
  • the heroic virtue of the Servant of God Ignazio Stuchlý, Priest of the Society of Saint Francs de Sales [Salesians]; born 14 December 1869 in Bolesław, in what is now Poland; died in Lukov, Czech Republic on 17 January 1953;
  • the heroic virtue of the Servant of God Rosa Staltari, professed Religious of the Congregation of the Daughters of Mary Most Holy, Co-Redemptrix; born 3 May 1951 at Antonimina, Italy; died in Palermo, Italy, on 4 January 1974.