Silvio Berlusconi Accused Of 'Sacrilege' For Taking Communion
Silvio Berlusconi accused of 'sacrilege' for taking communion
Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's Prime Minister, has been accused by the Catholic church of committing "sacrilege" by taking communion despite the fact that he divorced his first wife and is in the process of divorcing his second.
Nick Squires in Rome
Published: 5:08PM BST 21 Apr 2010
It has set off a heated debate between Catholic figures across Italy, with a priest in Genoa calling it a scandal.
"Berlusconi has committed sacrilege in the light of the fact that he is divorced and is in the process of getting divorced again," Father Paolo Farinella said.
He accused the Church of making one rule for the rich and famous and another for ordinary Catholics.
A former bishop from the southern region of Puglia, Monsignor Giuseppe Casale, said the 73-year-old premier should not be permitted to take communion because he had shown himself not to be "coherently Christian" with his behaviour.
The criticism was a veiled reference to the sex scandals which engulfed the prime minister last summer.
The allegations strained ties between the flamboyant billionaire and the Vatican, but the relationship appears to have been healed in recent months due to Mr Berlusconi's pro-Catholic stance on subjects such as abortion and euthanasia.
As a result he has managed to rebuild the "pact of steel" between his centre-Right coalition and the Church.
Mr Berlusconi divorced his first wife, Carla Dall'Oglio, in 1985 and five years later married an actress, Veronica Lario.
But the pair are in the process of getting divorced after she took him to task last year for his womanising, accusing him of "consorting with minors" and of being "unwell".