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Beyond belief: up to 5 years for a joke about the Pope

No, it isn’t some lunatic fantasy of some depraved Catholic, it’s the reality of Italian law.

In 1929 the fascist leader of Italy, Benito Mussolini, signed the Lateran Treaty, part of which provided that an insult to the Pope carries the same penalty as an insult to the Italian President.  Bizarrely, insulting the President in Italy carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

In 2008, famous satirist Sabina Guzzanti told a political rally that within 20 years Italian teachers would be vetted and chosen by the Vatican. “But then,” she joked, “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.”

Not very funny, but hardly heinous.  The deranged prosecutor of Rome disagreed and asked the Justice Ministry for permission to prosecute Ms Guzzanti for ” offending the honour of the sacred and inviolable person”of the Pope.

The Justice Ministry showed some sanity by refusing permission: “I decided not to authorise it, knowing well the stature and capacity of the Pope for forgiveness.”  Or perhaps because he realized what an insufferable twat the prosecutor was being.

Shame really, it could have been fun.  They really should repeal those hideous and stupid laws, though.


One Response

  1. I read that is has been repealed. That the demented prosecutor forgot which laws apply in Rome today. That old and new laws co-exist. This is very original.

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