Italians debate whether Pope can be subject of satire

.- The Italian press this week is debating whether it is politically correct to poke fun at Pope Benedict XVI, after his secretary, Msgr. Georg Ganswein, reportedly told an Italian news agency that he had enough of satire in the media about the pontiff.

The controversy started last week when Church officials and Catholic newspaper Avennire blasted a wave of Italian television and radio programs poking fun at Pope Benedict. It made the front pages of most of Italy's newspapers on Wednesday.

While some newspapers defended the Pope, L'Unita said Italians should not accept any attempt at censorship and added that "this all smells a little like fundamentalism".

A long editorial in Corriere della Sera, Italy's largest-selling newspaper, criticized the satires, calling them "a sad gag".

"The Teutonic accent of the German Pope may be the stuff of a comic sketch but there are a billion people accustomed to calling him 'Holy Father' and everyone wants to see a minimum of respect for their father, if only for his age," it said.

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