Well, actually, more “Fuck the Rome Prosecutor and the 1929 Laterian Treaty”, but you get the point…
An Italian comedienne who said that Pope Benedict XVI would go to Hell and be tormented by homosexual demons is facing a prison term of up to five years.
Addressing a Rome rally in July, Sabrina Guzzanti warmed up with a few gags about Silvio Berlusconi — her favourite target for her biting impressions — before moving on to some unrepeatable jokes about Mara Carfagna, the Equal Opportunities Minister and one-time topless model.
But then she got religion, and after warning everyone that within 20 years Italian teachers would be vetted and chosen by the Vatican, she got to the punchline: “But then, within 20 years the Pope will be where he ought to be — in Hell, tormented by great big poofter devils, and very active ones, not passive ones.”
The joke may have gone done well with her crowd on the Piazza Navona in Rome, but not with Italian prosecutors. She is facing prosecution for “offending the honour of the sacred and inviolable person” of Benedict XVI.
The Christian world may have been dismayed, even outraged, at the Muslim reaction in 2005 to Danish cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammed, but Italian law enforcement appears to have had its own sense of humour failure. Giovanni Ferrara, the Rome prosecutor, is invoking the 1929 Lateran Treaty between Italy and the Vatican, which stipulates that an insult to the Pope carries the same penalty as an insult to the Italian President. Prosecution requires authorisation from the Ministry of Justice, for which Mr Ferrara has applied.
The Italian Right is divided on the issue:
The move to prosecute her over her anti-papal remarks was praised by some on the centre Right, including Luca Volonte, a Christian Democrat, who said that “gratuitous insults must be punished”.
However, many people were strongly critical. Paolo Guzzanti, Ms Guzzanti’s father and a centre Right MP, said the move was “a return to the Middle Ages”.
“Perhaps my daughter should be submitted to the judgement of God by being made to walk on hot coals,” he added.
My tip: run really fast.