VATICAN CITY – Italian judge Rosario Livatino, killed by the Mafia in Sicily in 1990, was beatified on Sunday, the last step before possible holiness in the Roman Catholic Church.
Livatino was shot dead by a Mafia team who shot his car while driving on a Sicilian highway. Despite the risks, he had refused an armed escort. He tried to flee from his attackers, but was caught and killed in a field.
Known as the “Judge Boy” because he looked younger than his 37 years old, Livatino had carried out numerous crowd surveys at a time when the Sicilian clans were embroiled in a full-fledged war.
He was beatified during a service in the cathedral of Agrigento in Sicily, where a glass box containing his bloodstained shirt was displayed as a relic. Addressing pilgrims in Vatican City, Pope Francis praised the young magistrate.
“In his service to the community as an honest judge, who has never allowed himself to be corrupted, he has endeavored to judge not to condemn but to rehabilitate,” François said.
“May his example be for everyone, especially judges, an incentive to be loyal defenders of legality and freedom”.
Three years after his death, Pope John Paul visited Sicily and hailed Livatino as a “martyr for justice”.
Pope Francis put him on the path to possible holiness in December, approving a decree of martyrdom which meant that it was not necessary to attribute a miracle to Livatino’s intercession to God for he be beatified.
It would be necessary to attribute a miracle to Livatino for him to be declared a saint.
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that only God works miracles, but that saints believed to be with God in heaven intercede on behalf of those who pray to them. A miracle is usually the medically inexplicable healing of a person.