What do Kim Jong Il, Pope Benedict XVI, and the Italian President have in common?  Tell a joke about them to the wrong audience and you could end up in jail.

While it is not clear that the Vatican is supporting this, the Italian government is planning on prosecuting Italian Comedian Sabina Guzzanti for telling a dirty joke about the Pope's afterlife.  I will not repeat the joke here because not only is it tasteless, it isn't funny.  Suffice it to say that it raised the ire of Italian  prosecutor Giovanni Ferrara, who accused her of "offending the honour of the sacred and inviolable person" of Benedict XVI.  

This follows on the heel of a July rally against the Vatican's involvement in Italian political affairs, attempting to influence legislation.  

Lest you think this is something new, the Rome prosecutor is relying on 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.

For more on this story, visit http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article4732048.ece

 
 

8 Comments

  1. Cheryl says:

    This reminds me of what happened to the Dixie Chicks after Natalie Maines told an European audience that she was ashamed of President Bush for invading Iraq while claiming it was in response to 9/11. There was this uber aggressive response by politicians, the media, the entertainment industry, etc., that almost killed the career of the group. Nevermind that they had every right to Free Speech.

    And something very interesting happened. A cold shroud of fear fell over everyone. No one felt free to question or criticize the Bush Administration for fear of retaliation. To question the actions of the Bush administration was to be unpatriotic! To this day people are afraid to speak up, out and against this president. Knowing what we know now (these examples are in no way all inclusive): the illegal wiretaps, the secret surveillance of peace movement groups, the arrests of persons both private and public before they have a chance to voice dissent (see Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar), every phone call and email tracked for content – are all good reasons to be afraid. The loss of habeas corpus, the Patriot Act, the Exeuctive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq (has to be read to be believed: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/07/20070717-3.html), are tools of intimidation and control supposedly set in place to protect the citizenry from "terrorists" but inevitably get used against everyone because inevitably everyone sooner or later can be categorized as a "terrorist". Nevertheless, it should inspire us to courage to remember "People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people." – Alan Moore, David Lloyd, V for Vendetta.

    I suppose if Americans have anything to be thankful for it's that we're not being jailed for telling dirty jokes about this President.

  2. Cheryl says:

    This reminds me of what happened to the Dixie Chicks after Natalie Maines told an European audience that she was ashamed of President Bush for invading Iraq while claiming it was in response to 9/11. There was this uber aggressive response by politicians, the media, the entertainment industry, etc., that almost killed the career of the group. Nevermind that they had every right to Free Speech.

    And something very interesting happened. A cold shroud of fear fell over everyone. No one felt free to question or criticize the Bush Administration for fear of retaliation. To question the actions of the Bush administration was to be unpatriotic! To this day people are afraid to speak up, out and against this president. Knowing what we know now (these examples are in no way all inclusive): the illegal wiretaps, the secret surveillance of peace movement groups, the arrests of persons both private and public before they have a chance to voice dissent (see Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar), every phone call and email tracked for content – are all good reasons to be afraid. The loss of habeas corpus, the Patriot Act, the Exeuctive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq (has to be read to be believed: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/07/20070717-3.html), are tools of intimidation and control supposedly set in place to protect the citizenry from "terrorists" but inevitably get used against everyone because inevitably everyone sooner or later can be categorized as a "terrorist". Nevertheless, it should inspire us to courage to remember "People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people." – Alan Moore, David Lloyd, V for Vendetta.

    I suppose if Americans have anything to be thankful for it's that we're not being jailed for telling dirty jokes about this President.

  3. I do not think people should be arrested for making commments about a President or the pope. First of all, both are just men. They are not God. If it is someone's opinion or feeling that they dislike either individual, that is their choice. I wouldn't show any holy reverence to either individual–scripturally, it is not due to a man. Only God and Christ. Freedom of speech.

  4. I do not think people should be arrested for making commments about a President or the pope. First of all, both are just men. They are not God. If it is someone's opinion or feeling that they dislike either individual, that is their choice. I wouldn't show any holy reverence to either individual–scripturally, it is not due to a man. Only God and Christ. Freedom of speech.

  5. john says:

    Kinda funny that many countries stress freedom of speech yet limit it when dealing with the heads of state. Why should it be special for a normal person who is just doing a job. Should i go to jail for talking about the mayor of my city, or maybe my boss?

  6. john says:

    Kinda funny that many countries stress freedom of speech yet limit it when dealing with the heads of state. Why should it be special for a normal person who is just doing a job. Should i go to jail for talking about the mayor of my city, or maybe my boss?

  7. John says:

    The pope is a criminal who has evaded prosecution by being granted immunity by George W. Bush. If not for the immunity the pope would be facing 556 charges of aiding and abetting sexual abuse of minors. These outdated laws will not protect him forever. This brave woman simply stated the truth and she should be commended not persecuted. Take off his frock and have him take responsibility for his part in the spread of HIV/Aids. rape and abuse. He is the most outrageous criminal still outside of a jail.

  8. John says:

    The pope is a criminal who has evaded prosecution by being granted immunity by George W. Bush. If not for the immunity the pope would be facing 556 charges of aiding and abetting sexual abuse of minors. These outdated laws will not protect him forever. This brave woman simply stated the truth and she should be commended not persecuted. Take off his frock and have him take responsibility for his part in the spread of HIV/Aids. rape and abuse. He is the most outrageous criminal still outside of a jail.

 
 
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