Silvio Berlusconi makes headlines every day. Whether as head of a media empire himself or as a politician, as on Wednesday, Italy's interrogation judges are clearing the way for his prosecution. Prime minister loses immunity. Now the Catholic Church has spoken out – but it won't comment. Relations between Rome and Vatican have long been strained.
The spokesman for the Italian bishops' conference, Domenico Pompili, said Thursday in response to a question from the Catholic News Agency that it was a "primarily political matter". Conference chairman Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco would not comment on the development until the next bishops' meeting at the earliest, he said, in his keynote address. The meeting will take place from 9. to 12. November in Assisi. According to estimates from church circles, the bishops want to avoid taking a clear position. In the background, among other things, are negotiations about state funding for private schools, many of which are run by Catholics. In addition, a bioethics bill is pending in parliament, where Berlusconi has promised a vote in favor of the Catholic Church.The background to the strained relationship is not only Berlusconi's private escapades, but also his refugee and immigration policies, to which the country's Catholic media reacted critically. The most recent incident was a campaign by the Berlusconi-affiliated newspaper Il Giornale against the editor-in-chief of the episcopal newspaper Avvenire, Dino Boffo, who has since resigned, over an alleged homosexual affair.Italy's head of government Silvio Berlusconi considers his relations with the Vatican to be "excellent," despite the recent media feud with the Catholic daily Avvenire. As evidence of broad unity with the Catholic Church, the government leader invoked a common defense of fundamental values such as human life and the family. The government will also demonstrate its "outstanding relations" with the Holy See on a pending law on living wills at the end of life, the center-right politician stressed.
Media coup meeting with Pap At the end of September, Berlusconi, who by his own admission is 1.71 meters tall, pulled off a media coup to underscore this assessment: just in time for the Pope's departure for the Czech Republic, the Italian head of government showed up at the VIP terminal at Ciampino to greet Benedict XVI. to adopt. An appearance like wharf from the box, with all effects. Berlusconi had landed in Rome on Saturday morning, coming from the G-20 summit with the world's powerful in Pittsburgh – a good half hour before the pope was due to depart there for Prague. So it seemed only like a gesture of courtesy and reverence that the Cavaliere greeted the head of the church – in front of photographers, of course. In fact, the center-right politician's meeting with the pope was limited to a few words while walking before the latter boarded the plane to Prague. Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi stressed to reporters afterwards that there had been no actual conversation between Berlusconi and Benedict XVI during the two minute. Given.The brief encounter reverberated widely in the country's newspapers. "La Stampa" wrote in the headline of a "new start of dialogue" between Pope and Berlusconi. The first two inside pages also dealt with the head of government's lightning visit, dubbed "Operation Ciampino," as the pope departed for his trip to the Czech Republic. Now "the final word is spoken after the tensions between church and government", the paper quoted a source from Berlusconi's official residence Palazzo Chigi.
Berlusconi loses approval among Catholics Berlusconi loses more and more support among Catholic voters. According to a recent poll, the approval rating of practicing Catholics for the head of the center-right alliance has dropped from 55 percent in April to 50 percent recently. At the same time, the Church's reputation among this group of voters has risen slightly in recent weeks: 85 percent gave their faith institution a positive rating according to the survey, two percent more than in April. According to the newspaper, 800 people were surveyed for the opinion poll.