5 Sep 2009

Italy, Politics and the Church

Dino Buffo the editor of Italy's newspaper of the Italian Bishops Conference Avvenire has resigned after "defamatory" media attacks which claimed he was gay. He had criticised Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi for his "immoral" lifestyle.

In recent months Berlusconi has been alleged to have had extra-marital affairs which followed his wife Veronica Lario filing for divorce. He also was criticised for not upholding traditional marriage values. His party has also been criticised for holding fascist views.

In a front-page campaign, Il Giornale, editor Vittorio Feltri, claimed Buffo was gay and had been involved in a scandal involving an alleged male lover in 2004.
According to the newspaper owned by the Berlusconi family, Buffo paid a fine for allegedly harassing a woman over the telephone who it claimed was the life of his male lover. Buffo has admitted being fined in the case but denied he was sexually involved with the man.

Buffo has rebutted the claims but resigned to 'protect his family'. He has been backed by the Vatican, which issued an immediate statement supporting him.

Berlusconi is currently suing at least two Italian and two foreign newspapers for their coverage of the scandals surrounding him

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