Divorced Berlusconi Challenges Communion Ban

He confronts startled bishop at mass
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2008 2:29 AM CDT
President Bush shakes hands with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi at Villa Madama in Rome.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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(Newser) – Beleaguered Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi caused a scene in a church over the weekend, loudly demanding from a startled bishop in the middle of mass: "When are you going to change this rule that stops me taking communion?" Berlusconi, like other divorced Catholics who remarry, is banned from receiving the sacrament. The prime minister, who has been lobbying to halt his corruption trial, now has his sights set on Vatican policy, the Guardian reports.

Pope Benedict himself appeared to respond yesterday in an address via satellite to a Canadian church congress. "We must do all in our power to receive communion with a pure heart," he said, "Those who cannot have communion will find strength in their desire for it and by going to mass." (Read more Silvio Berlusconi stories.)