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Maverick Italian politician urges abolishment of Vatican city-state
    A maverick politician behind successful campaigns to legalize abortion and divorce in Italy is calling now for outright abolishment of the Vatican city-state.
    The 1929 Lateran Treaty with Italy established Vatican City as an independent city-state within Rome. That status gives the Holy See undue and special status among religions worldwide, Marco Pannella said Monday on Italy's Radio Radicale.
    "Vatican State signifies the use of holy water to bless the cudgel - the cudgel against science, conscience, democracy and tolerance," Pannella said.
    The Vatican's special status has been under attack elsewhere, with a Catholic abortion-rights group campaigning to do away with its permanent observer status at the United Nations and some Dutch political parties urging the European Union to sever ties with the Vatican. The Holy See maintains a mission to the European Community in Brussels.
    The Vatican had no comment on Pannella's remarks. In July, the Vatican thanked the US Congress for a statement upholding the Vatican's observer status at the United Nations.