VATICAN CITY -- No major Western European leader in recent years has been a more stalwart ally of the Roman Catholic Church than Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Berlusconi’s stands against euthanasia, living wills, in-vitro fertilization and domestic partnerships have put his country in line with Catholic teaching, and out of sync with all other major countries in the region, including traditionally Catholic Spain. His government has also granted large financial subsidies to Catholic schools, and expanded tax breaks for church-owned businesses.
Yet in Berlusconi’s increasingly public personal life, the billionaire businessman-turned-politician is not exactly a model of Catholic values.
After months of ever more graphic reports of wild parties and sex with young women, including several alleged prostitutes, a judge on Tuesday (Feb. 15) ruled that Berlusconi must face trial on April 6 on charges of paying for sex with a minor and obstruction of justice.