An archbishop and a local police chief in southern Italy have forced the scrapping of a public mass for the soul of a reputed Canadian crime clan boss, slain near Montreal.

Rocco Sollecito, 67, was gunned down in May while driving his car in Laval. Police said Sollecito had high-level ties to the former reputed head of the Montreal Mafia.

A priest in Grumo Appula, the Italian town of Sollecito's roots, posted notices inviting parishioners to mass Tuesday evening. But the police chief ordered the mass held at dawn instead to avoid drawing a big crowd.

Italy Mafia Mass Denied

Carabinieri paramilitary police stand front of the entrance of the Chiesa Madre (Mother Church) where a mass in memory of a reputed Montreal Mafia boss Rocco Sollecito was supposed to be held. (Annamaria Loconsole/ANSA via Associated Press)

Bari-Bitonto Archbishop Francesco Cacucci also opposed the evening public mass, calling it a "great scandal.'' He called it inappropriate for someone who didn't live a Christian life.

In the end, no mass at all was celebrated.