The head of the ancient Catholic religious order that first used the Red Cross as a symbol for helping the sick was under arrest on Friday after allegedly kidnapping two priests so that they could not vote against his re-election.
- The Times/The Australian
Father Renato Salvatore, 58, was re-elected Superior General of the Order of Clerics Regular, Ministers of the Sick on May 13 in an alleged plot worthy of a Dan Brown novel.
The Camillians, founded by St Camillus de Lellis in 1582, became known for the large Red Cross its members wore on their black cassocks as they tended to those afflicted by the plague.
The group, which counts more than 1000 clergy and 20,000 lay staff, runs hospitals, convalescent homes and AIDS clinics in 35 countries.
Prosecutors allege that Father Salvatore only won re-election, beating the Irish priest Frank Monks, because two 'grand electors'were illegally detained during the vote. Father Rosario Messina and Father Antonio Puca, who backed Father Monks, were allegedly told to get into a car because they had been summoned for questioning by police in Rome.
They were taken to a police station where two officers, who were alleged accomplices in the scheme, interrogated them for hours.