To the complete surprise of the Vatican and the defendants in the defamation case, the Bishop of Prato was fined 40,000 Lire for the sermon he directed against Bellandi Mauro and his wife, who though being married by the civil authorities did not go through the religious ceremony.
Monsignor Pietro Fiordelli is seen on the veranda of his home while he is visited by a number of children who bring him flowers. (according to information received this is the first time Mons. Fiordelli has allowed a cameraman to cover his activity after his name has become "famous". The coverage was made possible by the visit of these abandoned children.)
Can No 2 Then we seen Don Danilo Aiazzi a priest in the Cathedral of Prato who was also called in Court for having followed the Bishop's instructions. He was found not guilty.
Can No. 3 The home of The Bellandi family. Husband and wife are seen in their home: he reads a newspaper and she brings him a cup of coffee.
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Background: To the complete surprise of the Vatican and the defendants in the defamation case, the Bishop of Prato was fined 40,000 Lire for the sermon he directed against Bellandi Mauro and his wife, who though being married by the civil authorities did not go through the religious ceremony.
The Bishop and one of his priests, Don Danilo Aiazzi, spoke against the couple accusing them of living in sin, and calling their marriage a 'scandalous concubinage'.
the shock with which the Church authorities received the news of the courts verdict is signified by the Pope's decision to cancel the celebrations marking his nineteenth anniversary as Pope, and by the order from the Archbishop of Bologna to all the churches in his diocese to go into mourning until Palm Sunday, a period of a month.
The last time such friction appeared between State and Church was in 1931, when there was an anti-clerical campaign in progress in Italy. The Catholic newspaper, 'L'Observatore Romano' has already discussed the possibility of excommunicating Mauro and his wife and those involved in the case, the counsels and court officials.
The general feeling in Catholic circles in Italy is that if the Bishop of Prato had not named the couple but talked around them and implied rather than blazed forth a great deal of the bitter comments he made, there would have been no court case.
As it is this matter has caused a great amount of criticism of the State and unrest between the Church and the civil authorities, the persecution of the Bishop and his subordinate is being likened to the treatment of Catholic priests in Communist countries.