Pope bombarded with insults

Pope Francis has been bombarded with insults after urging Catholics to pray for migrants.

“Migrants are first of all human persons, and they are the symbol of all those rejected by today’s globalised society,” he tweeted on Monday.

However, Italian Twitter users were unimpressed with his views.

Some responded asking Francis to think instead of earthquake victims or of Vincent Lambert, the quadriplegic Frenchman whose parents recently accepted the ending of his life support.

Others said he should spend more time talking about Jesus and other religious topics. Others were even more blunt.

“When you have a bit of time between a lecture on migrants and a sermon on migrants, tell us something about the children and the destroyed families of Bibbiano,” one tweet reads.

Bibbiano is the Italian port where the German captain of a private rescue boat carrying illegal immigrants threatened to ram an Italian police vessel trying to stop it from landing last week.

Francis’s tweet followed a homily published on Monday in which he focused on migrants, saying:

“These least ones are abandoned and cheated into dying in the desert; these least ones are tortured, abused and violated in detention camps; these least ones face the waves of an unforgiving sea; these least ones are left in reception camps too long for them to be called temporary.”

Also on Monday, the front page of Italy’s daily la Repubblica newspaper ran the headline: “Catholics at a crossroads: the Pope or Salvini.”

The paper was referring to Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who has been at the centre of recent controversy concerning migrants rescued on the Mediterranean when he refused to let charity rescue vessels dock in Italian ports.

Last month his far-right League party introduced laws which would lead to heavy fines for any migrant NGOs which enter Italian waters.

Salvini has vowed that Italy will no longer host the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa every year.

He has also has accused other EU states, especially France and Germany, of hypocrisy for condemning his stance while refusing to take in more arrivals themselves.


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