One of Italy’s most influential Catholic opinion makers has resigned amid a morality battle with supporters of Silvio Berlusconi.
Dino Boffo, the former editor of the Catholic daily Avvenire, quit after the pro-Berlusconi Il Giornale reported he had once had a gay relationship. It said he had accepted a plea bargain over charges of harassing the man’s girlfriend.
Boffo came under attack from the paper after Avvenire criticised Berlusconi over recent sex scandals linked to his private life. He has denied harassing the woman and says Il Giornale, owned by Berlusconi’s brother, is engaged in political mud-slinging.
The Catholic Church has weighed into the row. One Cardinal said the accusations against Boffo were “disgusting”.
The affair has strained relations between the Vatican and Rome. Last week, the Church called off a dinner Berlusconi and the Vatican’s Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone were due to attend.