Right-wing extremists were strongly condemned after a funeral at St Lucia’s Catholic Church in Rome this week. Photos taken outside the church show a casket dipped in a swastika flag. Around the coffin are a few dozen listeners who give the Nazi salute to honor the dead.
The Italian press identified the deceased as a 44-year-old former member of the far-right group Forza Nuova.
Both Jewish and Catholic leaders in Italy condemn the use of the swastika flag and describe the incident as scandalous, according to reports CNN.
– The priest was completely clueless
The Catholic Archdiocese of Rome said in a statement that the priests in St. Lucia, including the pastor who performed the ceremonies inside the church, were not fully aware that the coffin was to be wrapped with a swastika outside the church, she wrote. Watchman.
The Archdiocese further asserts in the manifesto that the swastika flag is a terrible symbol that is completely incompatible with Christianity. The operation was also described as “offensive” and “unacceptable”.
– Svastika first and foremost symbolizes Nazism and Adolf Hitler’s NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers’ Party, editor’s note). It is an ancient Indian symbol that was picked up by the Nazis. While the Italian fascist flag consists of an eagle standing on a bundle of rice with an axe. Thus Italian neo-Nazis are little different from Italian fascists, Civita historian Bord Larsen tells Nettavizen.
He distances himself from every word, gesture and symbol
Alessandro Zenobi, a priest at St Lucia’s Church, was quoted as saying that he completely distances himself from “every word, sign and symbol used outside the Church, which has been attributed to extremist ideologies far removed from the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ”.
The Jewish community in Rome is appalled that such events are still occurring 70 years after World War II and the fall of the fascist dictatorship in Italy.
– It is unacceptable that the swastika flag can still be displayed in public in today’s society, especially in a city that saw the deportation of the city’s Jews by the Nazis with the help of their fascist associates (note of the Italian Fascist editor’s note), reads the manifesto.
On October 16, 1943, more than 1,000 Jews were deported to Rome. The vast majority were deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. Only 16 of them returned. Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini was a close ally of the Nazis in Germany.
– Mussolini’s Italian fascism was in many ways the forerunner of Nazism, and appeared several years before Hitler noticed. Larsen says that Italian fascism is linked to another type of fascism that is not militaristic and anti-Semitic like German Nazism.
There is more space for right-wing extremism in Europe
A similar incident also occurred outside St Lucia’s Church on Monday outside another church in Rome in March last year. Larsen says right-wing extremism has become more prevalent in Europe in recent years.
In general, Italy has a long tradition of neo-fascism. So that in and of itself isn’t that exciting. But overall there was more scope for right-wing extremism in Europe. The general trend is that right-wing extremism is less exciting today than it was many years ago. It has to do with several things. First and foremost, the US presidency was the door that opened the door to the far right, without me having any statistics behind me to cover, but it seems obvious when you look at events like Charlottesville in the US, says Larsen.
Larsen points to the incident in Charlottesville in the summer of 2017, when a self-styled neo-Nazi stormed a peaceful group of protesters and killed a woman. The peaceful counter-demonstration was directed against hundreds of far-right supporters who protested the removal of the statue of General Robert E. Lee.
Then-President Donald Trump received heavy criticism for the way he handled the incident, and for not distancing himself enough from far-right forces.
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