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Cardinal bashes Italy over moral decay

Stops short of naming Berlusconi as problem

Berlusconi july 11Enlarge
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi inside the Parliament in Rome on July 15, 2011. (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE /AFP/Getty Images)

A Catholic cardinal has lashed out at Italy's political elite, asking the country to "purify the air" as sex and corruption scandals are giving Italy a bad name, reports the BBC News.

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco blistering attack occurred during a speech to fellow bishops. The cardinal did not name Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi during the attack, though Berlusconi is facing four trials on charges including tax fraud, and sex with a minor.

Younger generations should not be poisoned, the cardinal said.

According to Davil Willey, BBC correspondent in Rome, everyone understood who the cardinal was speaking about.

According to the cardinal, politicians have a responsibility to be moral leaders, as their behavior had "undeniable effects on culture and education" reports BBC News.

Berlusconi has denied the charges against him, and has said that he intends to remain in his post until the end of his term in 2013. This is despite the allegations that he was recorded in a phone call boasting of the queue of women who wanted to sleep with him, reports the Vancouver Sun.

Berlusconi has also been attacked for saying that he was only prime minister in his spare time.

“It is mortifying to witness behaviour that not only goes counter to public decorum but is intrinsically sad and hollow,” said the cardinal.

10 witnesses, who were scheduled to testify against Berlusconi in the fraud case against him have been excluded from the case. Judges claim that this is because the trial has dragged on too long, and there were statute of limitations complications.

Cardinal Bagnasco, who is head of the Italian Bishops Conference, said that Italians were in a state akin to "dumbounded astonishment" when it came to their political leaders.

Pope Benedict said four days ago that Italy needed an "ethical renewal" according to Fin24. According to the Italian media, this is what gave the cardinal the go ahead to release his harsh criticism.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/italy/110926/cardinal-bashes-italy-over-moral-decay