A priest burned a photo of ex-Pope Benedict XVI during mass in Italy over the weekend, Inquisitr reports March 4. Father Andrea Maggi set the photo ablaze before parishioners in the middle of a sermon, leaving them confused and stunned. Several in the congregation reportedly walked out.
The Italian priest said this while destroying the picture:
“I’m doing this because he has not been a Pope, he has abandoned us. A shepherd never leaves his flock.”
Mayor of the municipality where the pope photo burning happened -- Gian Stefano Orengo -- explained what Father Andrea said while setting the image in flames.
“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.”
The priest compared the ex-Pope's retirement to that of the captain of Costa Concordia -- who allegedly abandoned his passengers on the doomed ship. He said Benedict "abandoned" the Catholic Church.
Father Andrea wasn't sorry for burning the Benedict photo. He said that he promised to burn the picture if the Pope were to go through with retiring.
“I’m not interested in his reasons for leaving. The job of Pope is for life. He should not have left … The Pope said this was the year of faith and then he leaves his post as head of the church.”
The priest who burned the Benedict photo is expect to meet with Bishop Alberto Maria Careggio over the incident. He called the priest's actions "abominable."