Pope compares nationalistic rhetoric to Hitler-speak

Pope Francis is concerned about recent political rhetoric, warning against nationalism and saying recent political speeches “resemble those of Hitler in 1934.

“’Us first. We … We … These are frightening thoughts.”

“Sovereignism” or nationalism, represents an attitude of “isolation” and closure, he said in an interveiw with Italian newspaper La Stampa last week.

“A country must be sovereign, but not closed” inside itself, he said.

In his view national sovereignty “must be defended, but relations with other countries, with the European community, must also be protected and promoted.

“Sovereignism,” on the other hand is something that goes “too far” and “always ends badly — it leads to war,” he said.

In addition, Francis said it is one thing for people to be able to express their concerns, but quite another “to impose a populist attitude on the people.

“The people are sovereign,” with their own way of thinking, feeling, judging and expressing themselves, while populism leads to forms of sovereignism.

“That suffix, ‘-ism,’ is never good.”‘

His comments to La Stampa followed a call from Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini for the Italian parliament to be dissolved.

Salvini reportedly asked President Sergio Mattarella for snap elections to help push the country’s government further right politically.

Although Mattarella hasn’t said whether he’ll act on Salvini’s request, media say it follows Italy’s months-long tensions within its coalition government.

Some say Salvini is like US President Donald Trump, with his comments that Italy should come first and the country should crack down on immigration.

In contrast, Francis says migrants should be integrated into society and maintains that nationalism is an “attitude of isolation.”

Francis has already stood against what he sees as Italy’s rising tide of nationalist views.

Last month, for example, following clashes between Italy’s government and migrant rescue ships, he said no one is exempt from helping migrants.

Salvini has long taken the opposite view, tweeting in 2016 that “The pope says migrants are not a danger. Whatever!”


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