Italian Carabinieri, national gendarmerie of Italy squad, of Italy patrol formation back view with “Carabiners” logo emblem on uniform maintain public order in the streets of Florence, Tuscany, Italy. File photo credit: Tsuguliev via Shutterstock.

Italian mafia allegedly poisons priest’s chalice for speaking out against organized crime

By Staff – The Washington Times |

In Cessaniti, a small town within Italy’s Calabria region, the Rev. Felice Palamara narrowly escaped a life-threatening incident during a Saturday Mass.

The priest, renowned for his courageous stance against the mafia, detected a bleach odor emanating from the water and wine and halted the service to alert authorities.

Italian national police, known as the Carabinieri, confirmed the substances had been contaminated with bleach, hinting at an attempt on Father Palamara‘s life.

“I’m sure that this act of intimidation has nothing to do with my parishioners because I have been here for 10 years and I have always had good relations with the people of the parish,” Father Palamara told the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

“We don’t allow anyone to do harm to the parish. Nobody can stop a town that deserves redemption and that wants to grow,” he added.

The suspected motivation behind the poisoning attempt is attributed to his vocal criticism of the local mafia, specifically the ‘Ndrangheta, a dominant and globally expansive organized crime syndicate.

Originating in Calabria, the ‘Ndrangheta is considered by some to be the most lucrative criminal organization globally, with profits soaring from trafficking cocaine and expanding its influence beyond Sicily’s diminishing mafia power.

Father Palamara has faced intimidation for his anti-mafia declarations, including receiving death threats and enduring vandalism to his vehicle. Currently under police protection, the priest remains defiant, advocating love and mercy over revenge on social media.

The alleged attack on Father Palamara is not an isolated event; other town clerics have confronted threats. In particular, the Rev. Francesco Pontoriero discovered a dead cat positioned ominously on his car after having received similar menaces.

Furthermore, in a move recognizing the pervasive mafia control, Cessaniti’s town council was disbanded in the previous year amid concerns of criminal infiltration — a drastic yet necessary action occasionally employed in Italian regions with a strong mafia presence.

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