Vatican Snubs Berlusconi Over Cheeky News Article
Scandal-ridden Italian premier disinvited from pardoning religious ceremony
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 30, 2009 11:40 AM CDT
The Vatican disinvited the Silvio Berlusconi from a religious service and dinner after a newspaper owned by his brother ran an article criticizing an influential Roman Catholic newspaper editor.   (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
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(Newser) – He may still be beloved by Italian voters, but there’s clearly no love lost between Silvio Berlusconi and the Vatican, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Holy See has disinvited the scandal-ridden Italian premier from a religious service and dinner after a newspaper owned by his brother ran a scathing article criticizing an influential Roman Catholic newspaper editor. “It was a very strong attack,” a Vatican official said of the salacious front-page report.

Paolo Berlusconi’s paper published an article accusing the editor of running a “moralistic campaign” against his brother and of a homosexual affair that led to a plea bargain for harassing the wife of his alleged lover. The prime minister tried to distance himself from the story, and some saw his planned attendance at the “Perdonanza,” or the annual day of pardon for sins, as a gesture of atonement. But the Vatican said it didn’t wish to be “exploited” by him.