This is not a bad Catholic joke …

October 31, 2007

It’s one of those stories you can’t make up. Phil Stewart in our Rome bureau reports that one of Italy’s most infamous mobsters has become a father this week without ever consummating his marriage to his daughter’s mother. What’s more, his wife’s name is Immacolata (Immaculate)… But this is not some kind of bad Catholic joke.

A view of Naples, with Mount Vesuvius in the backgroundRaffaele Cutolo, a former boss of the Naples-based Camorra crime network, got multiple life sentences on “hard time” — without conjugal visiting rights — on murder charges over two decades ago. He married Immacolata in prison in 1983 but was never allowed to be alone with her. In fact Cutolo, now 65, told the Rome daily La Repubblica last year that he had only kissed his wife once in 23 years. But he said: “I want so much to give her a child.”

According to Il Messaggero newspaper, the couple immediately asked for permission to try artificial insemination, but it wasn’t until 2001 that this was granted. They apparently needed several tries before their daughter was conceived.

Immacolata Cutolo said she wanted little Denise to grow up never hearing the word Camorra. “It is synonymous with pain for everybody,” she said.

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