'Rebel' Italian Catholic priest's fans try to stop his removal

Indo Asian News Service

Palermo (Italy), April 11 (IANS/AKI) Supporters of a conservative Sicilian priest who called the Catholic Church "false" and "a prostitute" will meet Palermo's Archbishop Corrado Lorefice to try and prevent his dismissal.

In a recent letter, Lorefice ordered Alessandro Minutella to leave Palermo's San Giovanni Bosco parish by Friday "for a period of rest" following a series of inflammatory attacks Minutella made against the Catholic Church under Pope Francis, who he views as overly progressive.

In response to Lorefice's letter, Minutella on March 31 streamed live on social media a mass in he celebrated in his parish church.

"To this Church which does not want me I say: farewell false Church, the pointless edifices will remain, farewell shameful multinational, unworthy prostitute who has sold herself to the world's powerful," Minutella stated during the mass, cited by local daily Il Giornale della Sicila.

Minutella earlier this month complained he was being treated "like a mafia boss" and vowed he would "continue to preach, if necessary in cellars - even if I am defrocked."

Parishioners who support Minutella on Monday demonstrated outside Palermo Cathedral, touting banners asking for the priest to keep his job.