Anti-mafia priest Father Felice Palamara. Image: Facebook

Poisoned chalice for anti-mafia priest

By Region News Southern Italy

Father Felice Palamara, a priest in southern Italy, narrowly avoided swallowing bleach after noticing an unusual odour while preparing for mass. The anti-mafia priest is an outspoken critic of the ‘Ndrangheta.

 The incident, which occurred on Saturday evening at San Nicola di Pannaconi church in Cessaniti, Calabria, has raised concerns of a mafia threat.

Father Palamara had consecrated the chalice of water and wine, used in the Eucharistic ceremony, when he detected a strange smell. He immediately interrupted the mass. Subsequent laboratory tests confirmed the presence of bleach in the chalice.

This incident is not the first time Father Palamara has faced threats or intimidation. He has been a vocal critic of the ‘Ndrangheta, a powerful mafia organization based in Calabria. He has reportedly received several death threats during his time at the church, and his car has been vandalised twice in recent months.

Police escort for anti-mafia priest

Following the discovery of the contaminated chalice, Father Palamara has a police escort. He shared a message on social media stating his commitment to overcoming any obstacles and responding with love, forgiveness, and mercy.

The local bishop, Attilio Nostro, condemned the act, saying that such intimidation tactics have no place in the Christian community. He encouraged the community to remain strong and not succumb to fear or violence.

Father Palamara is not the only clergy member in the region to face alleged mafia threats. Another priest, Father Francesco Pontoriero, found a dead cat placed on his car.

These incidents highlight the ongoing struggle against organised crime in Italy, where some priests experience threats and intimidation due to their stances against such organisations.

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