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The Vatican has commented on the sex scandal allegations surrounding Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi… calling on politicians to show “robust morality”.

Catholic publications had already described the scandal as being like a “damaging tornado”.

But the intervention of the Vatican’s number two is likely to be more influential.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of state and second only to Pope Benedict, said:

“The Vatican is following with attention and concern these Italian affairs that fuel an awareness of great responsibility towards families and the new generations and towards their demand to set an example.”

The 74-year-old PM denies paying for sex with a dancer, who was 17 at the time.

Berlusconi has threatened a new law to prevent judges from pursuing elected officials.

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