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Priest who offered Mass on inflatable mattress placed under investigation

by Kelly Valencia
Father Mattia Bernasconi (3).PNG - Banner image

A priest in Italy, who went viral earlier this week for offering Mass on an inflatable mattress in the sea, has been placed under investigation for "offence to a religious confession".

Father Mattia Bernasconi, from the diocese of Milan, decided to do Sunday's service in the sea after failing to find shade among the trees by the beach in Crotone, where he had originally planned to hold the service. 

"It was 10:30 in the morning and the sun was scorching, so we decided to veer into the only comfortable place: in the water," Father Bernasconi told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

The 36-year-old priest said a family offered the use of the inflatable mattress, which transformed into the altar, while they celebrated the Sunday service in swimsuits. 

Father Bernasconi had been working in a summer camp for high school students with an anti-mafia organisation. 

Videos online also showed teenagers in swimsuits kneeling, squatting, or sitting in front of Father Bernasconi as they participated in the service.

But the ceremony was not well received by the Archdiocese of Crotone-Santa Severina. 

In a recent statement, they called for the need to maintain "the minimum decorum and care for the symbols necessitated by the very nature of liturgical celebrations". 

"In some special cases, during retreats, school camps, in vacation spots, it is possible to celebrate mass outside a church," the archdiocese of Crotone-Santa Severina continued. 

"But it is always necessary to make contact with the ecclesial leaders where one is, in order to advise each other on the most appropriate way to carry out such a Eucharistic celebration."

Speaking to Corriere della Sera, Father Bernasconi defended his actions but admitted it had been "perhaps imprudent" adding he wouldn't do it again. 

"It was absolutely not my intention to trivialise the eucharist, it was simply the mass at the end of a week of work," he said.

"But the symbols are strong, it is true, and they speak, sometimes in a different way than we would like. It was naive of me not to give them due weight," he concluded. 

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