Matteo Salvini more popular than the Pope on immigration
Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy's League Party and Interior Minister, is more popular than the Pope on the issue of immigration.
Published: August 26, 2018, 12:42 pm
Italian Catholics prefer Salvini to Pope Francis, according to a series of recent polls.
According to German daily Die Welt, Salvini has become the de facto leader of Catholics in Italy because of his firm stance against migration. Fewer and fewer Catholics support Pope Francis’ view that immigrants should be welcomed with open arms.
Almost one third of Italians go to church regularly. Within this group, support for Salvini has doubled in four months, from 15.7 percent in March to 31.8 percent in July, Ipsos revealed.
The director of the Ipsos research institute, Luca Comodo, pointed to the outcomes of several surveys “at this time, [showing] there is a clear distance between a significant part of Catholic opinion and the hierarchy of the Church”.
Pope Francis’ popularity has steadily declined: In 2013, he enjoyed an approval rating of 96 percent among those who attend Mass weekly and 91 percent among Catholics who attended Mass only from time to time. Currently, the pontiff’s approval ratings are down by 10 and 18 points respectively.
According to reports in Italian media, the pope’s “collapse” in popularity is because of his persistent pleas to welcome migrants, which has led many to believe that he is totally out of touch with the realities facing Italian society.
One online journal even suggested that Salvini was trying to get himself elected as “the next pope” because of his growing popularity after he promised to put “Italians first”.
Salvini is currently the most trusted politician in Italy, polls show. But despite his support from the majority of Catholics, Salvini has endured a constant stream of insults and criticisms from prominent Church figures. He has even been called Satan and the antichrist.
In July, the leading Roman Catholic weekly, Famiglia Cristiana compared him to Satan on its front cover.
Salvini responded on Facebook: “They are comparing me to Satan? I don’t deserve that. I am comforted by the fact that I receive daily support from many women and men of the Church.”
When Gianfranco Formenton, a priest in Italy’s central Umbria region put a sign up on the door of his church in Spoleto, saying: “Racists are forbidden from entering. Go home!” Salvini tweeted in response: “Perhaps the priest prefers smugglers, slaveholders and terrorists? Pity Spoleto and this church if this man [calls himself] a priest.”
Oliviero Forti, who is in charge of immigration at Caritas in Italy, complained that “many Catholics no longer perceive the Holy Father as a spiritual leader, on the contrary, in some cases, he is even accused of being too far from the problems that people face.”
Pope Francis himself has spoken out against Salvini after he blocked the migrant vessel the Aquarius from docking in Italy in June.
But after a close adviser to Pope Francis strongly condemned a proposal by Salvini to make it obligatory for crucifixes to be displayed in all public spaces, including ports, schools, embassies and prisons, the Vatican lost some credibility.
All rights reserved. You have permission to quote freely from the articles provided that the source (www.freewestmedia.com) is given. Photos may not be used without our consent.
Keep your language polite. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in, for example, Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.
If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violations of any law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.
If your comments are subject to preview by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.
We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.
Anti-Piet campaigners in the Netherlands have lost their case to ban "racist characteristics" from the Zwarte Piet procession on November 14, 2018.
Elections took place in war-ravaged Donetsk and Lugansk Republics which showed that despite all hardships the flame on independence still burns high.
OsloReturning from the NATO Trident Juncture strategic exercise, a Norwegian frigate collided with a tanker. Many are speculating that gender politics sunk the vessel.
Jürg Lauber, the representative of Switzerland at the UN, was instrumental in writing The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, together with the representative from Mexico.
HelsinkiEurope would lose its spiritual and cultural identity without its nations, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told his audience at a European People’s Party (EPP) congress in Helsinki on Thursday.
RomeThe European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said at Monday's Eurogroup meeting with Economy Minister Giovanni Tria, that Italy needs to cut its high debt, EU sources said on Wednesday. The country's Interior Minister already has a plan.
AntwerpThe Dutch chapter of aid an organisation dealing with underage prostitution is working together with the Flemish municipality of Antwerp to tackle the increase in human trafficking and grooming gangs.
ParisSovereignist parties secured a combined 30 percent of support in the latest poll with Marine Le Pen’s National Rally ahead of French President Emmanuel Macron’s party for the European Parliament elections.
The HagueThe pro-war British research collective Bellingcat is planning to expand into the Netherlands and to open a permanent office in The Hague, DutchNews.nl reported on Friday.
BrusselsNicolas Bay, member of the European parliament and co-president of the group “Europe of Nations and Freedom” gave an exclusive comment to FreeWestMedia on the “Global Compact for Migration”.