A Priest with Long Fingers?

Sedella is a small village in the Axarquía (Málaga) with around 700 inhabitants, whose churchgoing parishoners had a nasty shock.

AXA A Priest with Long FingersSomebody stole valuables from the church and suspicion has fallen on the priest himself!

The Mayor, Francisco Abolafio, explained that the parishioners make generous gifts to their Virgen de la Esperanza, which are kept in a safe at the foot of the Virgin’s effigy.

However, one day the safe disappeared and along with it the money and jewellery it contained! These money and gifts are used to embellish the effigy when she is taken out in processions such as Semana Santa.

Such was the consternation amongst the elderly residents that the Mayor decided to get involved and report the theft to the Guardia Civil.

Many inhabitants point the accusative finger at the ex-priest (he’s still a priest but was transferred away). Some of the more irate parishioners approached the Bishop and even threatened to take the affair before the Vatican. Read: don’t mess with Sedella folk!

Then, just as mysteriously as the safe disappearence, it reappeared, containing the jewels but not the cash. A miracle!

Now, the Spanish have a wonderful expression: Con la iglesia hemos topado (We’ve run up against The Church) meaning that you’ve come up against a brick wall. The expression comes from a passage in Don Quijote.

It all started on the 10th of last month, which was when the village priest was replaced by a new one. The parishioners went to the church to take out the jewellery etc to prepare the Virgen for a procession on the 12th of October but instead found it’s safe gone. furthermore the floor on which it sat had been covered over as if nothing had ever been placed there.

The churchgoers immediately approached the new priest, who immediately contacted the priest whom he had replaced. According to the denuncia placed with the Guardia Civil, the ex-parish priest said that it had been pried off and left in the Punto Limpio (rubbish-collection compound).

The Mayor, armed with the original list of contents, sent a letter to the Bishop giving him just 72 hours to respond. The very next day the answer came back saying that the Bishop knew nothing of the affair but would investigate. The Mayor had given him three days but waited a fourth before going to the Guardia Civil about the theft.

But the parishioners wouldn’t let it rest at that and pestered the Mayor to phone the ex-parish priest, which he did on speaker with five witnesses listening in. The priest told him that during the six years that he had been the parish priest there he had never had the safe keys in his possession and he had simply thrown it away. When the exchange became heated, the Mayor told him that he would see him in court.

Then the Mayor sent a letter to the Bishop asking for a face-to-face meeting, warning if there was no response, he would take the affair before the Council of Bishops in Madrid and if that didn’t satisfy him, then the next step was the Vatican with all of the villagers making the journey.

This time the Bishop said that everybody should be happy as the jewellery had reappeared. But how did this come about? The Mayor explained that he had a long meeting with the Bishop: “I know that the previous priest returned them but the Bishop didn’t make it clear what would happen to him.”

The villagers are not happy and have told the Mayor that the law case must go ahead.

(News: Sedella, Axarquía, Costa del Sol, Malaga, Andalucia)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *