A Catholic weekly in Italy has compared the deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini to Satan, declaring “Vade retro Salvini” (“Get back, Salvini”) on its front cover – a tweaked version of the medieval Latin formula used during exorcism.
The influential Famiglia Cristiana wrote: “Nothing personal or ideological, it’s just the gospel.”
Salvini, leader of the rightwing League party and a Catholic, said the cover was in “bad taste” and “disrespectful”. The AGI news agency declared that it had “unleashed war”.
The populist leader, who became minister of the interior last month, has moved to shut Italian ports to migrants and is seeking to limit the number of arrivals, saying Italy has borne an unfair burden among European Union countries. He has also called for a “cleansing” of Rome from Italy’s streets.
Salvini said: “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,” he said in a Facebook post.
In response to Salvini’s criticism, the magazine wrote on its website: “Deputy Prime Minister Salvini has a rather ‘personal’ idea of the catechism, and also of the Gospel. According to the Word of God, we will all be judged on loving our neighbour.”