Matrimonies and Baptisms in the Mafia of Palermo during the Twenties
Historical sources have demonstrated that, since the origins of the Mafia, it has always had strong links with religion. Often, mafiosi appear to conform to Christian values: they usually go to Mass and celebrate baptisms and marriages, or tend to use religious symbols, such as crosses or holy pictures. They favour the preservation of a traditional society, outwardly based on hierarchical values and family unity. However, their ceremonies and family ties are used to reinforce criminal alliances, often ratified by comparaggio, the strong tie that arises from baptism. This article, based mainly on police and judiciary sources from the Fascist anti-mafia campaign of Cesare Mori (1925-1932), analyzes the role of weddings, baptisms, and confraternity affiliations in the scheme of Mafia power, during the first two decades of the Twentieth Century.