Religion: The Battle of Castelpoto

When the new priest trudged up the hill to Castelpoto, accompanied by two armed policemen, his parishioners were waiting for him in the town square, jeering and yelling: "Get out! We don't want you. Go back where you came from!" Don Domenico Scapatici shrugged, smiled and gave them his blessing. But later he said: "It was the most terrible day of my life.''

Like a thousand other villages in Italy's Mezzogiorno (midday, i.e., the south), Castelpoto (pop. 2,800) was bone-poor and bright Red. A medieval huddle of stone houses high in the Neapolitan Apennines, it had no sewage system, no running water,...

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