Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who has been dogged by months of sex scandals, is being invited by the Pope to discuss the role of the Church in politics, a news report said on Thursday.
Even as some senior church officials have spoken out against Berlusconi, the Italian leader will attend a two-day summit at the Vatican with Pope Benedict XVI amid concerns how Christian values were being eroded by world leaders.
Last month, Cardinal Walter Kasper said Italy needs a return to "sobriety" in its political life.
"There is growing alarm within the Vatican and especially the Holy Father that not enough prominence is being given to basic Christian and family values by governments," Vatican sources were quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
The timing of the meeting would be pushed forward to early next year given the decision earlier this week by the European Court of Human Rights that Italy should remove crucifixes from classrooms.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who famously converted to Catholicism after he left Downing Street in 2007, will be among other Catholic politicians, including German chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, former Spanish PM Jose Maria Aznar, to attend the summit called 'Witnesses of Christ in the Political Community', the British tabloid said.
According to Vatican sources, the Pope was becoming "increasingly concerned" how Christian values were being eroded because of various world governments introducing legislation against Catholic teaching.