An Italian priest set fire to a photo of ex-pope Benedict in protest against his resignation during Sunday Mass Reuters reported on March 4. The priest told his shocked congregation that the former pope had abandoned his flock. Rev. Andrea Maggi, 67, is from Santo Stefano Protomartire church in the small northern village of Castel Vittorio. According to the mayor of the municipality in the northwestern Liguria region, Glan Stefano Orengo, the incident drove half the congregation out of the church.
Rev. Maggi supported his action by saying:
"It was wonderful."
The priest compared Benedict to Captain Francesco Schettino, who is blamed for discarding the Costa Concordia cruise ship after it capsized off the Italian coast before all the passengers were rescued. Benedict resigned as pope on Thursday.
Alberto Maria Careggio, the bishop of Ventimiglia-San Remo, scowled at the priest's actions. He referred to the event as an "execrable," and told the Corriere della Sera publication that the priest had performed a "grave evil" and brought about a "disturbance of ecclesial communion." The Bishop reinforced his plans to meet with Maggi right away.
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