Rosario Livatino was a Catholic judge who was brutally killed by the mafia in 1990. He worked as a prosecutor in the 1980s at the Court of Agrigento, Sicily, dealing with the corrupt system of mafia bribes and kickbacks used on public works contracts. He became a judge and was known as the “boy judge” because he looked younger than his age of 37. Despite the risks, he refused an armed escort when driving. One day traveling to the courthouse a car hit his vehicle pushing him off the road. He ran from his car into a field but was shot in the back and then killed by more gunshots from a Mafia hit squad. Today a plaque on the highway marks where Livatino was killed. Pope Francis put Livatino on the way to possible sainthood in December, 2020 by approving a decree of martyrdom, meaning there was no need for a first miracle to be attributed to Livatino’s intercession with God, before he could be beatified. Francis recognized the judge as a martyr killed “in hatred of the faith.” Pope Francis called Livatino a heroic example and urged
judges to learn from his efforts to promote redemption through justice. The Pope recalled that after Livatino’s death, an annotation was found frequently written in the margins of his notes: “STD.” It was Livatino’s acronyms for his total entrustment in the will of God: “Sub Guardia Dei,” meaning “Under the gaze of God.” Pope Francis said “Rosario Livatino left us a shining example of how faith can be fully expressed in the service of the civil community and its laws; and how obedience to the Church can be combined with obedience to the State, in particular with the delicate and important ministry of enforcing and applying the law.” At the beautification service on Sunday May 9, 2021, in Agrigento cathedral in Sicily, Livatino’s bloodstained shirt was placed in a glass box and put on display as a relic. On that day, Pope Francis speaking to pilgrims in Vatican City praised the young judge saying “in his service to the community as an upstanding judge, who never allowed himself to become corrupt, he strived to judge not to condemn but to rehabilitate.” Still, before Livatino can be declared a saint, a miracle is needed. It must be determined that God performed a miracle after someone prayed to the Blessed Rosario Livatino in heaven and he in turn persuades God to perform the miracle for the person. Livatino is the first judge to be beatified in the history of the Catholic Church. On the same day as his beatification, the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development announced it has set up a “working group” dedicated to “excommunication of mafia members.”