Source: The Washington Post
ROME — In a small church in central Italy, a priest told his congregation one recent Sunday morning that the motto of Italy’s highest-profile politician — “Italians First” — was antithetical to Christianity itself. Farther north, another parish priest said that supporters of the country’s new governing hard-line anti-migrant party “cannot call themselves Christian.” On the island of Sicily, an archbishop speaking in a public square took an even broader swipe, criticizing politicians who drive “their own miserable success” by exploiting fear about migrants.
“The church can’t stay silent,” the archbishop of Palermo, Corrado Lorefice, said during that speech, which marked a local holiday. “I can’t stay silent.”
As Italy’s migration politics swing to the right, the Catholic Church is responding with an oppositional roar.
Pope Francis, during the five years of his papacy, has spoken about the humanity and rights of migrants, cautioning about the anti-immigrant sentiment taking hold in parts of the developed world. But those warnings only recently turned into a clarion in the very backyard of the Roman Catholic Church, where one of the world’s most Catholic nations has ushered in a populist government that pledges to “stop the invasion” and narrow its doors.