Crime-Fighting Clergyman Targeted by Mafia in Italy

A crime-fighting priest in Italy has been threatened by the mafia after publicly condemning their criminal activities.

Father Ennio Stamile discovered a severed pig's head on his doorstep, Sunday, as he was heading to church for Mass, according to The Daily Mail. Detectives believe he is being singled out by the mob after publicly speaking out against their criminal activities on a regular basis.

Father Stamile has been prominent in speaking out against organized crime in the town of Cetraro in Calabria, which has become notorious for mob activity.

The pig's head was found with a piece of cloth stuffed in its mouth outside Father Stamile's home in Cetraro near Cosenza in southern Italy. This is the mob's method of intimidation and is a clear warning to the clergyman, according to The Telegraph.

"These are people who are warped by evil, but righteousness pays many times over," Father Stamile said. "I certainly won't stop what I'm doing, but I don't want to send a message that I'm trying to defy anyone. Calabria has no need for heroes, just people who want to do their duty."

President of the regional anti-mafia commission, Salvatore Magaro, calls Stamile "a priest of the highest caliber who had battled all forms of injustice."

"We have a duty to stand by the side of those who daily commit themselves to the fight against Ndrangheta and fearlessly uphold values of honesty and non-violence," Magaro said.

Police are investigating the incident and stepping up efforts to protect Father Stamile.

The local mafia in Catero, known as Ndrangheta, has threatened Stamile before. A week ago, they reportedly vandalized his car.

"Despite all that is happening I will continue my battle against organized crime," Stamile said.

Ndrangheta has been responsible for many murders in Catrero over the last few years, according to The Daily Mail. They use Catrero as a stronghold and are responsible for bringing in cocaine from South America. They also murdered a prosecutor and two other priests. The killers have yet to be brought to justice.

Father Giuseppe Diana was killed at the age of 36 in retaliation for speaking out against Ndrangheta. He was gunned down while preparing for Sunday Mass. Pino Puglesi was also shot and killed outside his church.

In addition, the mafia fired shots at the car of Father Giuseppe Campisano, in broad daylight. He was not in the car at the time and had previously been harassed with threatening phone calls and bullets in his mailbox.

Ndrangheta is one of four major crime families in Italy, making millions of euros from dealing drugs and other criminal activities. Collectively the mafia groups make one billion euros annually, which is seven percent of Italy's GDP.