A court in Rome has ordered an Italian wife to pay her estranged husband €15,000 for the depression he suffered over her affair with a Catholic priest.
The public trial has also led to the shameful resignation of the lover priest.
The court ruling came at the end of a five-year trial and is the latest in a string of sex scandals to rock the Catholic Church in Italy.
Father Vito Isacchi, the priest named in the court case, tendered his resignation in the archdiocese of L’Aquila on Tuesday after news of the court ruling was made public.
The woman, who has not been named, was ordered to pay thousands of euros, while 45-year-old Father Isacchi, known as ‘Don Vito’, was excused from paying any compensation as the court found him “irrelevant” to any violation of the marriage.
In a surprise ruling, the court ordered the cuckolded husband to pay €3,200 as a contribution towards the priest’s sacred vestments.
The L’Aquila archdiocese expressed its regret and said Father Isaachi had repented for his actions; but Isaachi resigned in a letter to the local archbishop, Monsignor Giuseppe Petrocchi, amid an outcry over the case.
“Don Vito recognises his moral responsibility and asks forgiveness for the upset and suffering caused to the religious and social community,” the diocese said in a statement.
“In particular, he has indicated he intends to reject the payment specified by the sentence.”
Father Isacchi comes from the northern city of Bergamo and was transferred from his Rome parish to l’Aquila, 70 miles from the capital, in 2010 after news of the scandal broke.
The court ruling found he had no responsibility to pay compensation.
“The petitioner’s claim against the woman must be accepted and dismissed against the defendant Isacchi, as it presupposes a violation of the obligation of fidelity in the marriage, an obligation for which the third party (Isacchi) is completely irrelevant,” said the judgement, in excerpts published by Italian media.
The court sentence was issued a year ago and made final six months ago, but just came to light this week.
Lawyers for the husband have urged the church to take further action against the priest who they say has violated canon law and his vow of celibacy.