Monday, 29 September 2008

Guardian interview with the Italian comedian who "insulted" the Pope

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You may remember a couple of posts earlier this month regarding Sabina Guzzanti, the Italian comedian who at one point was facing prosecution for insulting the Pope (she said his views on homosexuality will land him "in hell, tormented by queer demons - not passive ones, but very active ones.")

The case never got off the ground when it turned out the law against "offending the honour of the sacred and inviolable person", a hangover from the 1929 Lateran Treaty between the Vatican and Mussolini, had actually been removed in the 1980s.

The reason I bring this up again is the Guardian have an interview with Guzzanti, in which she discusses Berlusconi, his control of the Italian media, Italian freedom of speech and, of course, her criticism of the Pope and the influence of the Vatican in her country:
"What I was speaking about were the politics of the Pope. It's not as if I'd shot off my mouth on theological issues. It is the Pope who should have respect for our political institutions. At the point at which he gets involved in politics I have every right to criticise him for his political activity. Second, I am not even in agreement with the general principle. I believe that in a democracy there is no right not to be offended. I think that anyone ought to be free to say whatever he or she likes at any moment. If someone says things that are offensive, gratuitous and stupid, one has to assume there will be others able to demonstrate that what you said was offensive, gratuitous and stupid."