A priest who slept with 13 of his parishioners, and filmed bondage sessions and orgies has been welcomed back to the Catholic Church.
Father Roberto Cavazzana, 43, picked up a devoted following with his charismatic sermons, and even attracted attention from TV presenters, to whom he acted as a confessor on many occasions.
He rose to fame in Italy in 2017, after giving spiritual guidance to Belen Rodriguez, a popular TV presenter in the country, who described him as a 'modern priest' and a 'handsome and nice man'.
Belen Rodriguez. Credit: PA
He was eventually 'defrocked', after bringing shame on the church, and then lived amongst the 'poor' in what was described as a 'reserved way' for a year. The 43 year old is trying to recover his reputation following the scandal, which came out last year, the Metro reports.
In details which emerged, he admitted to having sex with 13 of his church goers, as well as taking part in a number of sex parties. The orgies were organised by another priest - Father Andrea Contin, who was later expelled from the church too.
Father Contin, 50, filmed the parties, in which they used bondage equipment and sex toys. An investigation was then launched after three of his former lovers came forward to speak about his behaviour.
When his home in Padua was searched, officials came across a whole load of home-made pornography and sex toys.
Two of the women who came forward with the claims did so after going to Contin for advice after becoming worried that their marriages were breaking down, according to reports.
Instead of providing the women with spiritual guidance, they both allege that he seduced them and pressured them to take part in 'extreme sexual activities'.
Claudio Cipolla, the bishop of Venice, said he forgave Father Cavazzana 'like a father' and he was taking inspiration from the 'mercy of the Lord'.
Maria Elena Sinigalia, the village mayor, added: "We are not talking about paedophilia so we are calm. You need to distinguish between the man and the priest and Don Roberto is a good priest. We hope he comes back soon. We are ready to forgive him."
After hearing he was to return to the Church, the father said: "I ask for forgiveness for the words, the gestures and all the mistakes that I have made."
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