...Sort of. An Italian comedian, Sabina Guzzanti, said nasty things about the Holy Father at a rally in Rome and accordingThe Times of London account isfacing prosecution for "offending the honour of the sacred and inviolable person" of Benedict XVI.Apparently this is some hangover from the Lateran Accordsof 1929, and it seems that the triggerfor the investigation may bewhat Guzzanti said about Berlusconi, with whom she hassparred for a long time, rather than Benedict.The emerging nostalgia for Mussolini-era fascism is thetruly alarming development.Still, the Vatican may want to get out in front on this and knock it down. Otherwise we'll be talking about Danish cartoons.PS: Perhaps the Lateran codicil was a natural correlation with canon law, which, even after the 1983 revision, includes a physical attack on the Pope as one of six or seven (hard to figure out the exact number) actions incurring automatic excommunication. (See the relevant canon law here.)
David Gibson is the director of Fordham’s Center on Religion & Culture.