"Cardinal Rambo" Domenico Calcagno leaves after a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI and other cardinals on February 17, 2012 at the Vatican. Calcagno has defended comments in Italian newspapers that reveal his passion for games.Photograph by: Andreas Solaro , AFP/Getty Images
Agence France-Presse - VATICAN CITY - A top Vatican cardinal with a passion for shooting defended his rich collection of rifles and handguns in comments on Thursday to Italian newspapers that have already dubbed him "Cardinal Rambo."
"This passion for weapons is long-standing. I used to go to shooting ranges. Unfortunately since I've been at the Vatican I had to stop," Domenico Calcagno, head of the Administration of Vatican Patrimony, told Il Fatto Quotidiano.
"It's innocent. What I like above all is repairing weapons," he said.
The 68-year-old cardinal owns at least 13 weapons including the famous 357 Magnum made by Smith & Wesson and a Hatsan shotgun, according to the website Savonanews from Savona in northwest Italy where Calcagno used to be the bishop.
The website said Calcagno was also a keen hunter and had several rifles.
Calcagno said he kept the weapons in a locked armoury at his home in Savona but that did not stop press reports from making ironic digs at the unusual hobby for a cardinal of the Catholic Church, which advocates non-violence.