Italian politicians of right and left, comedians and even some priests yesterday deplored a move by prosecutors in Rome to put a satirist on trial for contempt of the Pope.
Sabina Guzzanti, known for her take-offs of the prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, risks being jailed for up to five years. The prosecutors recommended to the justice ministry that she be indicted because of a speech she made to a leftwing rally
Referring to the attitude to gay people of the Catholic church and Pope Benedict, Guzzanti said: In 20 years Ratzinger will be dead and will end up in hell, tormented by queer demons - not passive ones, but very active ones.
The 1929 Lateran treaty that created the Vatican city state describes the Pope as a sacred and inviolable person . It makes insulting him an offence in Italy on a par with contempt for Italy's president, punishable by between one and five
years in jail. Indictment, however, requires an endorsement from the justice minister.
The minister, Angelino Alfano, has not yet replied to the prosecutors' request.
Father Bartolomeo Sorge, editor of a Jesuit monthly, condemned the attempted prosecution: I am sure the Pope has forgiven those gratuitous offences.
As for Guzzanti, she said she felt honoured .
Comment: Holy Revenge
13th September 2008. Thanks to Alan
What I suspect is happening is that Berlusconi is out to get Sabina G because of what she said about him, especially her comments in the same speech about him and Mara Carfagna. Making the Pope the wounded party seeks to disguise that.
Berkusconi may be overreaching himself. Some members of his own party think so, notably Senator Guzzanti, who's, errr, Sabina's dad. (One of the funnier bits in her film Viva Zapatero! was the bit where some minister effectively said to
her, Sabina Guzzanti, I'll tell your dad about you.
Indicentally, some people call Berlusconi the neo-Duce. To give the real one his due, he wasn't an interfering busybody seeking to ban prostitution (as per the other Italian story). I've got a copy of the authorised price list of an official
knocking shop ("casa di tolleranza") dating from the Fifteenth Year of the Fascist Era (1938).