Italy: No Civil Penalties for the Priest Celebrant in Swimming Trunks

April 24, 2023

Italian civil justice has dropped charges against the priest who sparked controversy after celebrating Mass in a bathing suit in the summer of 2022, using an air mattress as an altar.

According to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, the Crotone Court judge decided on February 28, 2023 that the priest would not have to appear, because the investigation opened by the public prosecutor's office into a possible offense of religious offense was closed.

On July 24, 2022, the priest in question, vicar of the church of Louis de Gonzague in Milan, had celebrated in water up to his waist, on a beach in Capo Colonna. The event took place on a Sunday during a camp attended by about twenty students.

“It was half past ten and the sun was scorching, so we decided to go to the only comfortable place, the water,” the 36-year-old priest explained.

Made aware of the affair, the Archdiocese of Crotona-Santa Severina had published a statement blandly recalling that “the celebration of the sacraments has its own language,” which must be respected and valued.

The provincial prosecutor of Crotone, had opened an investigation for “offending a religious denomination.” The priest's lawyer argued that his client did not act maliciously. Seven months later, the case was finally closed.