Church-League clashes over migrants continue

Bishops' daily blasts Salvini's 'little politics'

(ANSA) - Rome, August 13 - Avvenire, the daily newspaper of Italian Bishops Conference CEI, took aim at the Northern League on migrants Thursday, continuing a clash between the Italian Church and the right-wing party led by Matteo Salvini.
    On Wednesday Salvini said CEI Secretary-General Monsignor Nunzio Galantino was being a "pain the neck" by intervening in this issue.
    In an interview, Galantino had criticised politicians who fuelled anti-migrant sentiments, calling them "cheap peddlers willing to say extraordinarily inane things just to get a vote".
    He added that comments by League politicians such as Salvini and Governor Luca Zaia of Veneto amount to a sort of "tavern talk, boasting" that could be turned into violence against newcomers.
    Galantino also criticised the government's response to the Mediterranean migrant crisis as being "completely absent". Salvini responded by accusing the Church of overstepping the mark.
    "Is Italy still a republic or dependent on the Vatican?" he wrote on Facebook. "Immigration without limits and without rules is just chaos". Avvenire joined the debate on Thursday with an editorial by Editor Marco Tarquinio.
    "There are those who blabber and insult for awful reasons of little politics and those who take action," Tarquinio wrote.
    "Those who don't do anything serious try to poison the hearts of the Italians by odiously and outrageously attacking those who do the right thing". Salvini has also criticised Pope Francis for making appeals for governments not to reject refugees.
    When the pope said last week that rejecting refugees was an act of war, the League leader replied: "No, it's a duty. Am I wrong?".
    Salvini also hit out at the pope in June, when Francis asked the faithful to pray for forgiveness for those who "close the door" to refugees.
    "How many refugees are there in the Vatican?" Salvini told his party's Radio Padania.
    "The problem is that the refugees are a quarter of those who arrive (while the rest are economic migrants). We don't need to be forgiven".


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