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Superior general arrested for alleged kidnap of confreres

Italian police officers pictured in Milan (Photo: PA)

Italian police have arrested the superior general of the Camillian Fathers and Brothers on suspicion of kidnapping after he allegedly tried to prevent two Camillian Fathers opposed to his election from attending the order’s general chapter.

Fr Renato Salvatore, who was re-elected at a chapter meeting in May, and five other men were arrested by Italy’s finance police this week.

“It was with great surprise and deep pain that we heard the news that our superior general had been arrested by the Guardia di Finanza to answer questions relating to facts attributed to him,” said Fr Paolo Guarise, the order’s vicar general, in a statement.

“We are living this moment in prayer, confident that full light can be thrown upon this event,” Fr Guarise said.

According to Italian news reports, Fr Salvatore is accused of arranging for impersonators posing as members of the finance police to detain and question two Camillian fathers in order to prevent them from participating in the general chapter and voting against his re-election.

The real finance police have alleged that Fr Salvatore was working with an Italian financier – who has been investigated repeatedly but never convicted of shady financial dealings – to protect contracts at a Camillian hospital near Naples.