An Italian judge dismissed an atheist’s case that a small-town priest should stand trial for asserting that Jesus Christ existed, a lawyer said today.
The priest’s accuser, Luigi Cascioli, contended the Roman Catholic Church had been deceiving people for 2,000 years with a fable that Christ existed and he accused the priest of violating two laws with the assertion.
“The judge has ordered that the case be shelved,” said Bruno Severo, a lawyer for the prelate, Rev. Enrico Righi.
“The Rev. Righi is very satisfied and moved,” Severo said.
“He is an old, small-town parish priest who never would have thought he’d be in the spotlight for something like this.”
In his decision, Judge Gaetano Mautone said prosecutors should investigate Cascioli for possible slander, the lawyer said.
Cascioli was not available for comment today. He has said in the past that he had little expectation that the case would succeed in overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Italy, and that he planned to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.