Outrage as Professor Blames Fall of Rome on Rise of Homosexuality

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Byline: From Nick Pisa in Rome

A PROFESSOR is facing calls to resign after blaming the collapse of the Roman Empire on homosexuality.

Roberto De Mattei, a devout Roman Catholic, had already raised eyebrows by saying the Japanese tsunami was 'divine punishment'.

In a radio interview, the vicepresident of Italy's prestigious Centre for National Research said: 'The collapse of the Roman Empire and the arrival of the barbarians was due to the spread of homosexuality.

'The Roman colony of Carthage was a paradise for homosexuals and they infected many others.' The 63-year-old added: 'The invasion of the barbarians was seen as punishment for this moral transgression.

'It is well known effeminate men and homosexuals have no place in the kingdom of God.

'Homosexuality was not rife among the barbarians and this shows God's justice comes throughout history.' Professor De Mattei is a close friend of education minister Maria Stella Gelmini and controversial prime minister Silvio Berlusconi who once said: 'Better to love girls than be gay.' Last night fellow historians, gay rights groups and politicians expressed outrage. Paola Concia, an MP with the Democratic Left, said: 'I have tabled an urgent call for the education minister to intervene. …