Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has asked the Pope for asylum over lunch last week in the Pontiff's private apartment at the Vatican. The meeting had been at Berlusconi's request.
"Signor Berlusconi has always had a high regard for Pope Benedict and the two men became close when the Holy Father was faced with criticism over priests behaving badly. The PM, or rather the former PM, was at the time himself in a pickle over his association with escort girls - if you know what I mean - so he and the Pope could commiserate," our Vatican spy confided in us.
Pope Benedict had at first agreed to make a set of rooms available for Berlusconi's private use, but withdrew his offer on hearing that the latter would be bringing an 'escort' with him, and that the Swiss Guards, even priests based at the Vatican, could 'ride' the 'escort' when needed.
"Of course, Pope Benedict had misunderstood Signor Berlusconi," our spy told us.
The Pope had understood that the 'escort' was going to be a woman, when, in fact, it was going to be an Escort automobile.
Said our spy: "Signor Berlusconi was flabbergasted at the Pope's obvious shock at his offer of an Escort for the Holy See. He thought he was being so kind in that if the priests had a car to go about in they would not have to suffer Rome's cold winter winds blowing in underneath their cassocks when on their bicycles."
Over the years Roman hospitals have been reporting that priests often suffered frostbite of their most intimate parts which required amputation and that they should be given cars in order not to have to go about on bicycles.