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Don't Piss Off The Pope - Or Else!

| Filed under: Legal MattersPolitik

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This is sad.

Is Italy turning into communist Cuba, where people can't openly talk about the government and voice their opinions????

Sabina Guzzanti, an Italian comedian, might be facing jail time for some remarks she recently made.

Guzzanti, who's known for her satire and wit, faces a prison sentence of up to five years.

But why?

For insulting the Pope!!!!

Guzzanti is being accused of "offending the honour of the sacred and inviolable person" of Pope Benedict XVI.

She was at a Rally in Rome this past July at which "opposition leaders accused Silvio Berlusconi, the Prime Minister and media tycoon, of passing ad personam laws to protect his own interests and avoid prosecution for alleged corruption."

Speakers at the rally were also protesting against what they viewed as "excessive interference" in Italian affairs from the Vatican and Catholic Church.

As for Guzzanti, she's been known to impersonate Berlusconi. She told the crowd that probably in 20 years the Vatican would also be screening and choosing all Italian teachers.

She also said, "But then within twenty years the Pope will be where he ought to be, in Hell, tormented by great big poofter devils — and very active ones, not passive ones."

And there's the quote that could land someone in jail.

And according to the 1929 Lateran Treaty between Italy and the Vatican, any insult towards the Pope has the same penalty as an insult to the Italian President. And in order to prosecute, they just need to get authoriazation from the Ministry of Justice.

Kind of makes you happy to live in the US knowing that we're protected and have our Freedom of Speech.

And, oddly enough, aside from Berlusconi, there seems to be a great deal of people in Italy who value this law. Even the Democrats like Luca Volonte, a Christian Democrat, who said that Guzzanti's "gratuitous insults must be punished".

As for Guzzanti's dad, a centre Right MP, he described the decision as "a return to the Middle Ages. Perhaps my daughter should be be submitted to the judgement of God by being made to walk on hot coals".

Many are also describing this move as Fascist.

Antonio Di Pietro, who organized the rally and is a centre Left senator and former anti-corruption magistrate, said that Guzzanti had only "exercised her constitutional right to freedom of thought. You can agree or not agree with what she said — and peronally I didn't — but to put people in prison for that they think is reminiscent of a time when those who thought differently had castor oil poured down their throats."

However, even priests are calling this ridiculous.

Jesuit scholar Father Bartolomeo Sorge, told a reporter, "I cannot understand it. We Christians put up with many insults, it is part of being a Christian, as is forgiveness. I feel sure the Pope has already forgiven those who insulted him on Piazza Navona".

Luckily, Magistrates said that no legal action would likely be taken against Guzzanti, so let's hope that's the case.

It seems like something should be done about Silvio Berlusconi, though.

[Image via AP.]

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