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Miroglio priest ousted for ‘theft and marijuana’

Parishioners at a church in the town of Miroglio, near Cuneo in northern Italy, have succeeded in ousting their local priest following a string of scandals including alleged forgery, theft and possession of marijuana.

Miroglio priest ousted for 'theft and marijuana'
File photo: AFP

A group of about 200 churchgoers was ready to “physically prevent Father Franco Giuli from saying mass” on Sunday morning after police found stolen “designer clothes, shaving creams and perfumes” at the rectory, the website, Today.it reported.

Bishop Alberto Verardo told parishioners that “Don Giuli has lost the charisma of the Good Shepherd” and, therefore, it was no longer appropriate for him to say mass.

The Diocese last year paid €30,000 to release Father Giuli from a prison in Switzerland where he spent 54 days for allegedly forging documents, possessing marijuana and stealing from shops and restaurants across the country.

The bail-out, which was reportedly used to cover Swiss legal costs, enraged the community at the time,  the local news website, L’Unione Monregalese reported.

“This is my bitter cup, and I want to drink it all the way," Father Giuli told the website after his release.

Although no disciplinary action was brought against him upon his return to Miroglio, the scandal split the community, with many calling for his dismissal.

Father Giuli has always proclaimed his innocence in the Swiss affair. He was on a trip to Lausanne in May last year when he was arrested along with two Romanians after police found stolen goods and two bags of marijuana in his car.

The priest had given the two Romanians, who were known in Miroglio, a lift to Switzerland.

"I know this was a mistake, they told me that they were going to Switzerland to look for work," he told L’Unione Monregalese.

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PRIEST

Senior Vatican priest resigns over advances to nun

A senior Vatican priest accused of making advances towards a nun during confession has resigned, the Vatican said on Tuesday.

Senior Vatican priest resigns over advances to nun
A file picture of the Vatican. Photo: DPA

Austrian Father Hermann Geissler resigned as one of three top officials at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which ensures Roman Catholic moral doctrine. 

“Geissler decided to take this step to limit the damage already done to the congregation and to his community,” a Vatican statement said, adding that he “reserves the right for possible civil legal action”.

A Canonical disciplinary procedure in 2014 let Geissler off with a warning after German former nun Doris Wagner accused him of inappropriate behaviour during confession.

“He kept me for hours, kneeling before him, he told me that he loved me and that he knew that I loved him and that even if we couldn't marry, there were other ways,” Wagner said.

“He tried to take me in his arms and kiss me. I panicked and ran,” Wagner said in testimony she put on social media.

Wagner also accused another priest of raping her in 2008.

He was removed from the Vatican but remains a priest in a community where “many young nuns live”, according to Wagner.

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