Talk to us

CathNews, the most frequently visited Catholic website in Australia, is your daily news service featuring Catholics and Catholicism from home and around the world, Mass on Demand and on line, prayer, meditation, reflections, opinion, and reviews. And, what's more - it's free!

Fr Felice Palamara (Crux/Screen capture)

A Catholic priest in southern Italy was the victim of a poisoning attempt on Sunday involving bleach mixed in with the water and wine used at Mass, in what many observers believe was a mafia-related attempt at intimidation. Source: Crux.

Fr Felice Palamara, pastor of San Nicola di Pannaconi parish in Cessaniti in the southern Italian region of Campania, told police that when he prepared to drink from a chalice in which he had placed the consecrated water and wine for a Sunday vigil Mass on Saturday evening, he detected a strange odour and interrupted the liturgy.

Laboratory analysis later confirmed the presence of bleach in the chalice, according to local media reports, triggering an investigation by the carabinieri, Italy’s military police.

Fr Palamara told reporters that this was not the first time he’s been menaced. Just a month ago, he said, his car was defaced for a second time while parked in the vicinity of his parish, and he said he’s received various death threats over the ten years he’s served the parish.

Also, in recent days, Fr Francesco Pontoriero, parish priest of the nearby San Basilio Magno parish, found a dead cat on the hood of his car.

Both priests are known locally for their advocacy of legality and opposition to organised crime, the most notorious form of which in southern Italy is the Camorra. While the threatening letters received by Fr Palmara specifically refer to his alleged role in having the previous pastor of his parish removed, many observers regard the real motive for the harassment as mafia-related.

In the wake of the bleach incident, Fr Palmara has been placed under police escort.

“I’m calm, even if in addition to forgiveness and mercy, I hope that the justice system succeeds in bringing these criminal episodes to light,” he told local media.


In possible mob attack, priest discovers chalice poisoned with bleach at Mass (Crux)