A priest burns Benedict's photo during Sunday mass as a protest of the Pope's abdication. On March 4, Reuters reported that the Italian priest burned the photo because he believed that the former pontiff had "abandoned his flock." The priest even compared the Pope's sudden departure to that of Italian cruise ship captain Francesco Schettino, who abandoned his post before all passengers were rescued.
"Before starting the homily, the priest took the photo of the pope and he said this is not a pope, this is not a shepherd, he abandoned his flock," said mayor Gian Stefano Orengo. The congregation was surprised that the priest did this, and church authorities are going to be notified.
The priest who burned Benedict's photo was Rev. Andrea Maggi. He called his actions "wonderful" and defended himself when questioned by the media. This drastic measure seems uncalled for, given that fact that most people believe that Pope Benedict XVI has good reasons for leaving the Vatican. Some believe that Pope Benedict is sick and that his abdication will allow him to rest -- or to seek treatment.
Regardless of how he feels, Rev. Andrea Maggi probably shouldn't have burning the Pope's picture. This is a very negative sign -- some even say that "fire" symbolizes hell -- and Maggi could find himself removed from his post because of his actions.
The priest who burned Benedict's photo is in a psychologically "fragile" state according to Mayor Orengo.
© Effie Orfanides 2013