Fr Giancarlo Manieri, who celebrated the requiem mass for Vittorio Casamonica, said he was unaware of what was going to happen outside his church
The lavish funeral of an alleged mafia boss has caused widespread anger in Rome.
After the requiem mass for Vittorio Casamonica, 65, at the San Giovanni Bosco church on the city’s outskirts, the cortege was pulled through the streets by horses, petals were dropped from a helicopter and the theme tune from The Godfather played.
Posters were also displayed declaring Casamonica the “king of Rome”. He is associated with the Casamonica clan, which has been accused of extortion and drug trafficking by Italian authorities.
According to the Daily Mail, the priest who celebrated the Mass, Fr Giancarlo Manieri, said he did not know what was going to happen outside the church and that he simply carried out his duties by celebrating a requiem mass for a practicing Catholic.
Hundreds of mourners lined the streets to pay their respects to Casamonica, who is thought to have died of cancer. However, politicians reacted angrily to the ostentatious display.
Rosy Bindi, a member of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party and president of parliament’s anti-mafia committee, said the funeral was “yet another wound for Rome and humiliated all Italians”.
The helicopter pilot who dropped the petals over the funeral procession has had his licence suspended by Italy’s civil aviation authority.