Berlusconi's obsession with women 'is a disease'
SILVIO Berlusconi is suffering from an "uncontrollable disease" in his relations with women, according to influential Catholics.
"It is incredible that a man in such a position does not have the necessary self-control," said an article in 'La Famiglia Cristiana' (The Christian Family), a magazine sold in Italian churches.
It said the prime minister's obsession with beautiful young women and a playboy lifestyle was symptomatic of "a disease; something uncontrollable".
The comments follow allegations by Karima Keyek (17) that she received €7,000 after attending a dinner party thrown by the prime minister at his villa outside Milan.
She claimed that Mr Berlusconi had thought she was in her 20s and when she disclosed she was not, he told her he had "problems over underage girls in the past" and that he could no longer have any contact with her.
The prime minister was accused of intervening to have Miss Keyek released from police custody when she was arrested in May on suspicion of stealing.
'La Famiglia Cristiana' said the scandal was damaging the "credibility and dignity" of the billionaire and raising questions about his suitability to lead the country.
An editorial in the Italian bishops' newspaper 'Avvenire' added: "Personal sobriety and decorous respect of the public office one represents is the minimum (duty)."
Veronica Lario, Mr Berlusconi's estranged wife, said last year he was "unwell".
Mr Berlusconi (74) has not denied that he knows Miss Keyek, nor that he invited her to his parties. But he dismissed the latest claims as a "Leftist attack". (© Daily Telegraph, London)