A priest has applied to be a contestant on the latest edition of “Big Brother” in Italy, and his possible participation has outraged Vatican bigwigs.
Little is known about the priest eager to spend up to 100 days in a secluded villa in Cinetta, where the show is shot.
But Canale 5, which airs the show, says he’s under 40, comes from southern Italy and has already been interviewed by the show’s producers. “I have the impression that he is a serious person, not a fool or somebody just looking for fame. I think he is a real priest, with strong religious convictions,” says the channel’s topper Giovanni Modina, calling himself “a Catholic and a believer.”
In a country where religious series are more popular than reality shows, a priest in the “Big Brother” fold would be very appealing in terms of ratings.
But the Catholic hierarchy reacted strongly to the announcement.
“It is unacceptable — unbelievable. The TV channel and the organizers of the show are defying the Catholic Church,” says Cardinal Ersilio Tonini.
This is not the first time applicants for “Big Brother” have sparked controversy.
Last year, a gay man was among the final candidates for inclusion in the third series of “Big Brother.”
In the end, he was rejected, and media commentators concluded it was all a Canale 5 stunt to pique interest in the show.