New intimidating gesture perpetrated against the young parish priest of Varapodio, Don Giovanni Rigoli, already the victim of a physical attack in church in January which forced him to resort to hospital treatment. Calabrian bishops: “Criminals blinded by mafia mentality”.
“An ignoble gesture and a direct attack on all the citizens of our precious region” thus the Episcopal Conference of Calabria expresses “the firmest condemnation” for the new intimidating gesture perpetrated against the young parish priest of Varapodio, Don Giovanni Rigoli , already a victim in January of a physical attack in church which forced him to seek hospital treatment. While he was saying mass in the church of San Nicola, someone set fire to the parish priest's car in front of the rectory.
Unidentified people, after having doused it with flammable liquid, set fire to Don Giovanni Rigoli's car, a Fiat Panda, causing a fire which then spread to the Rectory and was only put out thanks to the intervention of the firefighters.
The episode occurred on Saturday evening and in addition to destroying the parish priest's Fiat Panda, completely blackened by the flames, it also damaged the entrance, the door and a window of the rectory where about ten young people were at that moment, who, frightened from the flames, they had to evacuate the premises through a secondary exit.
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This is the second act against the young priest who on January 15th was attacked in church by two people after a funeral mass . The parish priest was headbutted only because he had enforced a provision from the bishop aimed at stemming the wave of influenza and Covid infections while those present demanded condolences from the entire church.
The police are now investigating the new episode, having taken the videos recorded by the video surveillance cameras. Meanwhile in the metropolitan city of Reggio Calabria there is confusion and concern. “We are sunk, we must react with courage and determination, Varapodio is not this” commented the mayor.
Solidarity with Don Giovanni Rigoli also came from the bishop of the Diocese of Oppido – Palmi, Monsignor Giuseppe Alberti, who personally arrived in the town as soon as he was informed of the incident. “It is a direct attack on all the citizens of our precious region, on all those who daily believe and fight in an honest and respectful way in favor of the dignity of others, contributing to the development of a Calabria that cannot and must not be represented by some criminals blinded by a mafia mentality : this way of acting and thinking does not belong to the ethics and humanity of the Calabrians” states in a note from the Calabrian Episcopal Conference.