The Italian Almanac

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Rosario Fiorello

Italian News - November 20

“I don’t think I’ll be sent to perdition for this sort of satire." Fiorello was responding to the objections raised by Fr Georg Genswein, the Pope’s personal secretary, to some of the popular comedian’s impressions. “It’s an argument that has no place on heaven or earth”, he added during an interdisciplinary seminar at the Catholic University in Rome.

A few days ago, the daily newspaper L’Avvenire criticised “the insistent attempts to ridicule Catholic figures”.One of the targets was Fiorello, who does impressions of Fr George during the Viva Radio 2 radio broadcast. Later, Benedict XVI’s personal secretary made his own contribution to the debate:“Enough of this satire on the Pope and on me”, said Fr Georg, referring to Fiorello’s programme and Maurizio Crozza’s TV show on La7. “These things have no intellectual depth and merely insult men of the Church”, he said.“They are unacceptable”.Fiorello’s response was,“I’m not going to be sent to perdition for these things”.

Fiorello was speaking at a seminar entitled “The Patience of the Patient”, organised by Rome’s Catholic University of the Sacred Heart.The comedian’s arrival was greeted by a roar as he launched into a tragi-comic tale of his times in hospital, starting from his birth, when “the nurses thought they were going to lose mother and son. It’s no coincidence that my name is Rosario, like my mum”.

Fiorello also engaged in zany conversations with some of the doctors present – “Are you a radiologist?That means we’re colleagues. I do radio, too” – and even with Paolo Zeppilli, physician to the Italian football team, with whom he exchanged quips on the dangers of tackling from behind.