London: Italian Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi, who has been dogged by months of sex scandals,
is being invited by the Pope to discuss the role of the Church
in politics, a news report said on Thursday.
Even as some senior church officials have spoken out
against Berlusconi, the Italian leader will attend a two-day
summit at the Vatican with Pope Benedict XVI amid concerns how
Christian values were being eroded by world leaders.
Last month, Cardinal Walter Kasper said Italy needs a
return to "sobriety" in its political life.
"There is growing alarm within the Vatican and
especially the Holy Father that not enough prominence is being
given to basic Christian and family values by governments,"
Vatican sources were quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
The timing of the meeting would be pushed forward to
early next year given the decision earlier this week by the
European Court of Human Rights that Italy should remove
crucifixes from classrooms.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who famously
converted to Catholicism after he left Downing Street in 2007,
will be among other Catholic politicians, including German
chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden,
former Spanish PM Jose Maria Aznar, to attend the summit
called `Witnesses of Christ in the Political Community`, the
British tabloid said.
According to Vatican sources, the Pope was becoming
"increasingly concerned" how Christian values were being
eroded because of various world governments introducing
legislation against Catholic teaching.