You come into my house on the day my daughter is to be married and you tell me I can no longer be called the godfather? The Catholic Church has really shaken things up over in Italy this month after they banned baptismal godparents in one Italian diocese. 

According to The New York Times, the decision was made out of concern for the unsavoury aspects of the role, which is often open to exploitation from the Mafia.

The Catholic Church leaders in Catania have slapped a three-year ban on naming godparents at baptisms from this month. They claim that many local families enlist power brokers to be their children’s ‘compari’ because they’re more interested in securing gold necklaces and networking opportunities rather than spiritual leadership.

Italians, who are famously not fiery or passionate about things at all, probably are going to find some issue with the ban. It’s already reportedly put a dampener on the usual lively christening celebrations in the Sicilian region.

“It’s shocking,” Jalissa Testa reportedly said at her son’s Catania baptism on the first Sunday of the godparent ban. “In our hearts we know, and they will know, that he has a godfather.”

But Catholic Church leaders remained defiant. Msgr. Salvatore Genchi, the vicar general of Catania, called the ban “an experiment”, arguing that most of the diocese’s godparents weren’t up to the task of managing their responsibilities. Genchi, interestingly, is the godfather to at least 15 godchildren.

The Rev. Angelo Alfio Mangano, of the Saint Maria in Ognina church in Catania, said that he approved of the ban because it meant he’d no longer have to deal with “threats against the parish priest” from questionable characters who sometimes used the position for social blackmail.

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