February 7, 2011

For just over four years, retired Italian Archbishop Cosmo Francesco Ruppi of Lecce has had 60-70 seconds each day on Italian public radio to tell listeners about the saint or blessed being honoured in the Catholic liturgy.

The popularity of the archbishop’s saintly minute is demonstrated by the fact that when his pieces did not close the news program because of a technical glitch in early January, the RAI Radio’s switchboard was jammed with angry calls, said Filippo Anastasi, director of religious information for the radio.

Ruppi says ending the news with a minute or so of talk about the life of a saint was a form of “detoxification” after listening to stories about “young girls who might please important men.”

His comment was an apparent reference to accusations that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi paid an underage woman to attend sex parties.