HomeWorldItalian priest smells bleach in chalice to avoid apparent mafia threat

Italian priest smells bleach in chalice to avoid apparent mafia threat


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A priest in Italy narrowly avoided possible death when he noticed a chalice was laced with bleach just as he was about to sip from it during mass.

Father Felice Palamara was leading mass on Saturday at the Nicola di Pannaconi church in Cessaniti, a small town in the Calabria region, as he prepared to drink and noticed a smell.

Noticing what is now believed to be a threat from the mafia, the priest told the congregation he was not feeling well and stopped the service.

He has railed against crime in the region and says he has been threatened before, with his car vandalised twice and death threats sent through the post.

On Saturday night, Father Palamara posted on social media that his “revenge is love”, while local bishop Attilio Nostro said the diocese is “experiencing a moment of suffering”.

He blamed “acts of intimidation that have nothing to do with normal Christian life of the parishes”, Corriere della Sera reports.

Father Felice Palamara. Pic: Facebook

‘We must not respond to hatred with hatred’

“For this reason, I appeal again to the Christian communities not to be discouraged by this language of violence,” he added.

“We cannot accept this language, we must not respond to hatred with hatred, knowing that it is not possible to truly speak with those who refuse to do so.”

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Incident reported to police

The incident was immediately reported to police, who are examining video footage in the area to identify those responsible.

Bleach was confirmed following analysis, local media reported.

Another priest, Don Francesco Pontoriero, was also threatened recently, with a dead cat placed on the bonnet of his car and threatening letters sent to him.

‘Hope justice can shed light on criminal episodes’

“I am calm,” Father Palamara told Corriere della Sera.

“Although in addition to forgiveness and mercy, I hope that justice will be able to shed light on these criminal episodes.”

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