Mar 16, 10:42 am ET
ROME (Reuters) - Police in a small Italian town had to break into a church to let a priest take up his new job, thwarting a six-month blockade by parishioners devoted to his predecessor.
The faithful in the mountain town of Trasacco had jammed the church doors shut in protest after the Church transferred their Capuchin monk and sent a non-Capuchin to replace him.
So attached were parishioners to the Capuchins, who had served them for the last 430 years, that they briefly bricked the last friar into the local monastery to try to stop him leaving their town about 60 miles east of Rome.
The newcomer, Father Duilio Testa, was appointed in September but only entered his church on Monday when police broke in through a window to let him in, deputy mayor Vincenzo Retico told Reuters by telephone.
He said Testa would have his spiritual work cut out for him.
"How can the people welcome him now, arriving flanked by police?" he said.
"Everything that there is in this town today was built with the toil and sweat of the monks. They were part of our being."
The Capuchins are a branch of the Franciscan order, famed for their long white beards.
Ya gotta admire people with senses of loyalty, continuity and tradition. I myself would have said that the Capuchins were famed for their commitment to the poor, or at the very least for having cappuccino named after them, but then, this is a news service we're dealing with here. They're easily distracted and amused....