The Vatican is not amused

The Vatican was apparently not amused by the goings on at a famous monastery in Rome and Pope Benedict XVI has shut it down according to Italian media reports.

The Santa Croce church is being closed because of rumours of a lack of liturgical, financial and moral discipline and the few remaining Cistercian monks at the church said to be being transferred to other communities in Italy.

The basilica’s abbot, Simone Fioraso, a flamboyant former Milan fashion designer, was moved two years ago after transforming the church. He renovated its crumbling interior and opened a hotel, held regular concerts, hosted a televised bible-reading marathon and regularly attracted celebrity visitors with his unconventional approach.

A nun at the monastery, Anna Nobili, a former lap-dancer, reportedly took part in dance performances with other nuns during religious ceremonies.

Santa Croce is one of Rome’s oldest and most prestigious churches, built around a chapel dating back to the 4th Century and is one of the Italian capital’s key places of pilgrimage as it is believed to house holy relics.