COVID-DENIER Fr Francisco Martinez Noguera is currently quarantined with coronavirus.
The priest, who administrates the assets of the Orihuela-Alicante diocese, became notorious after churchgoers at Callosilla’s Virgen del Camino church complained to Orihuela’s Policia Local that he did not wear a mask.
Many had stopped going to Mass, they said, as Fr Martinez consistently refused to wear a mask and had even told parishioners that wearing one was inappropriate in church.
The Policia Local officers spoke to the priest but could not start proceedings as the church is actually located in Callosa de Segura.
In mid-January, the same priest – as always without a facemask – said Mass in the Santa Faz monastery in San Juan where nine of the 11 nuns who tend the sanctuary now have the virus.
Fr Matinez was repeatedly warned about his refusal to comply with health and safety regulations both at Mass and in the Priests’ Residence in Orihuela where he lives.
Twenty of the 35 priests also living there have tested positive for Covid-19 while retired bishop, Rafael Palmero (aged 84) has been admitted to Alicante General Hospital.
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