Pope’s Right-Hand Man Opposes Public Display of Crucifixes

by David Nussman  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  July 27, 2018   

Fr. Antonio Spadaro slams proposed bill as anti-Muslim political stunt

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ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - A close advisor to the Holy Father is opposing a move in Italy to put crucifixes in public buildings.

Italian Jesuit Fr. Antonio Spadaro is a writer and journalist, currently the editor-in-chief of the Jesuit-affiliated journal La Civiltà Cattolica. In the Vatican, he is a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Secretariat for Communications.

Father Spadaro has stated his opposition to a bill in Italy that would require public institutions such as ports, hospitals and universities to display a crucifix on their premises.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Fr. Spadaro said of the crucifix, "Hands off!" He argued that the crucifix "is never an identitarian symbol."

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Spadaro is one of many leftists in the Church opposing Matteo Salvini, Italy's new deputy prime minister and minister of the interior, over the issue of mass Muslim migration into Europe.

Salvini and his political party, Lega Nord, or "Northern League," are seeking to restrict mass migration into Italy from Africa and the Middle East.

Lega Nord was the party to introduce the crucifix bill. The proposal calls the crucifix "a symbol of civilization and Christian culture in its historical roots, independent of a specific religious confession."

It also states, "For thousands of citizens, families and workers, it is the symbol of a history shared by an entire people."

But left-leaning Catholic leaders oppose Salvini's policies, including many of Italy's bishops.

For thousands of citizens, families and workers, it is the symbol of a history shared by an entire people.

Catholic Italian weekly Famiglia Cristiana recently put out a headline in Latin, "Vade retro, Salvini!" This is a pun on the line from St. Benedict's exorcism prayer, "Vade retro, Satana!" or "go back away, Satan!"

Matteo Salvini

Salvini pushed back against weekly, saying, "The comparison to Satan seems in very poor taste."

"I don't presume to give anybody lessons and I am the last of good Christians," he added, "but I don't think I deserve that."

Salvini also said, "I am comforted by the fact that I receive daily support from many women and men of the Church."

Father Spadaro, who opposed the crucifix bill, is the same person who collaborated with Presbyterian Marcelo Figueroa to pen a smear piece last year against conservative Christians in the United States. Spadaro and Figueroa accused U.S. right-wingers, both Catholics and Protestants, of working together to form an "ecumenism of hate."

Last year's piece even called out Church Militant by name and referenced a Vortex episode in which Michael Voris compared Donald Trump to Constantine.

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