“You come to me on the day my son is to be baptized, asking me not to assign a Sicilian godfather who may or may not be connected to La Cosa Nostra to guide his spiritual education?”
That’s my Marlon Brando impression, and yeah, I’m ready to do some horse-head-in-the-bed level stuff because the New York Times reports that in Catania, Sicily, the Roman Catholic diocese has enacted a three-year ban on godfathers, citing that the role has “lost all spiritual significance.” The notoriously dangerous ‘Ndrangheta mob is rooted in the region of Calabria, and Italian prosecutors tracked baptisms to map how mafia leaders exploit godfather connections for influence and profit.
According to the Times, “Instead... it has become a networking opportunity for families looking to improve their fortunes, secure endowments of gold necklaces and make advantageous connections, sometimes with local power brokers who have dozens of godchildren.”
People hoping for their child to be reared in the soft light of a good Catholic role model (with or without that gold necklace) are slipping over the Catania border for baptisms in which godfathers are allowed.
I implore you to look at the photos in the article: sequins, babies named Antonio playing with remote control Mercedes, fishmongers. Sounds like fertile territory for un film di gangster. The Many Saints of Newark was a real mess, so I think we’re due for a good one (get Marty on the horn). Or imagine Sofia Coppola at the helm of a post-modern Godfather IV, reclaiming the series a bunch of film bros think she destroyed. The outfits would really sparkle.