Italy’s Object Lesson

If you were looking for an object lesson on why the separation of church and state is a good idea, look no further than Italy, where a satirist is being prosecuted for insulting Pope Benedict XVI.Sabina Guzzanti: Pope insulter.”Italy’s Ministry of Justice has given prosecutors in Rome permission to proceed under the Lateran Treaty against comedienne and satirist Sabina Guzzanti. She is charged with “offending the honour of the sacred and inviolable person” of Pope Benedict XVI. During a comedy routine Guzzanti criticized the Vatican’s interference in issues such as gay rights, saying: ‘Within twenty years the Pope will be where he ought to be, in Hell, tormented by great big poofter devils…'”All hyperbole aside, Guzzanti is literally being charged under a fascist law. The Lateran Treaty of 1929 was the great solution to the “Roman Question”, a political dispute between the Italian Government and the Papacy. This treaty recognized the sovereignty of the Holy See, and established a concordat giving the Catholic Church certain privileges within Italian society (including the punishment of insults against the Pope).