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Vatican Slights Berlusconi Over Newspaper Attack | The Wall Street Journal
Prime Minister Misses Out on Annual 'Pardoning of Sins' Service as Holy See Withdraws Its Dinner Invitation

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi received a rare public snub from the Vatican after a newspaper owned by his brother criticized an influential Roman Catholic newspaper editor for questioning the premier's private life.

Mr. Berlusconi had planned to attend a religious service and dine with the Vatican's No. 2 official when the Holy See issued a statement Friday afternoon withdrawing the dinner invitation. The statement also said that Mr. Berlusconi, whose personal life has been under scrutiny for months, wouldn't attend the service, known as the "Perdonanza," or the annual day of pardon for sins.

A senior Vatican official said the snub came in response to a report published Friday in Il Giornale, a national newspaper owned by Mr. Berluconi's brother Paolo. "It was a very strong attack," the Vatican official said. <...>

Mr. Berlusconi's plans to attend the Perdonanza was seen by the Italian public as a gesture in the direction of atonement.

In its statement, the Vatican said Mr. Berlusconi's dinner plans with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who officiated Friday's service, was called off partly out of concern that the meeting could be "exploited." The Vatican official said the Holy See didn't want to be viewed as giving a "benediction" to Mr. Berlusconi's political positions and his personal life.

The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence.
by marco on Mon Aug 31st, 2009 at 12:24:55 PM EST

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