Earlier this week, the Catholic Church in Rome strongly condemned a funeral procession outside a local church where the casket was draped in a Nazi flag and mourners gave the fascist salute.
Calling it “offensive and unacceptable”, the Vicariate of Rome- Cardinal Angelo De Donatis strongly condemned the scene and stressed that neither the parish priest nor the priest who celebrated the funeral, knew what was going to transpire outside after the funeral Mass ended.
Photos and videos of the incident outside St. Lucia church published by the Italian online news portal Open showed around two dozen people gathered outside the church as the swastika-draped casket emerged, shouting “Presente!” with their right arm extended in the fascist salute. Italian news reports identified the deceased as a 44-year-old former militant of the extreme right-wing group Forza Nuova, who died over the weekend of a blood clot.
The statement from the vicar also called the swastika-emblazoned Nazi flag “a horrendous symbol irreconcilable with Christianity.” He added, “This ideological and violent exploitation, especially following an act of worship near a sacred place, remains serious, offensive and unacceptable for the church community of Rome and for all people of good will in our city.”
Furthermore, the statement also quoted the parish priest, Rev. Alessandro Zenobbi, as distancing himself and the church from “every word, gesture and symbol used outside the church, which is attributed to extremist ideologies far from the message of the Gospel of Christ.”