Italian police close down porn websites with Catholic themes
Italian authorities have blocked out five websites for blaspheming Catholicism with a combination of pornographic pictures and offensive statements about the Madonna.
A team of at least six officers has spent almost two years tracking the sites and working on shutting them down.
Their names translate into phrases such as Pig Madonna and Blasphemy and now, when the five sites are called up, viewers see the crest of the special police unit.
A young Roman man has been charged in connection with the case. Authorities are still working on what exactly the charges might be, but the man could face imprisonment and a fine.
Blasphemy is still illegal in Italy and although cursing has been decriminalised, publishing or broadcasting sacrilegious material can be prosecuted.
The sites got about 12 million hits over the two years they were open, police said.
Authorities were first tipped off by an article on such sites in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano in October 2000.
"At these addresses, the mention of God and the Madonna, besides being preceded by strongly vulgar language, was tied to explicit images of sex," police said in a statement.
10 Jul 2002