Insults in Italian replying to a tweet from Pope Francis flooded Twitter on Monday after he wrote about migrants.
“Migrants are first of all human persons, and that they are the symbol of all those rejected by today’s globalized society,” he tweeted.
Users were quick to react to the tweet with some asking the pope to think instead of earthquake victims or of Vincent Lambert, the quadriplegic Frenchman whose parents recently accepted to end life support.
Some said the Pope should spend more time talking about Jesus and other religious topics.
The pontiff tweeted out a homily on the sixth anniversary of his visit to Lampedusa and remembered migrants who drowned trying to reach Europe.
He also prayed for migrants in a homily that read: “These least ones are abandoned and cheated into dying in the desert; these least ones are tortured, abused and violated in detention camps; these least ones face the waves of an unforgiving sea; these least ones are left in reception camps too long for them to be called temporary.”
The same day, the front page of Italy’s daily la Repubblica newspaper ran the headline: “Catholics at a crossroads: the Pope or Salvini.”
The newspaper interviewed the Jesuit Father Sorge who compared Italy’s new security decree, which includes provisions that clamp down on migrant entry to Italy, with racial laws of the Fascist regime in the country in 1938.
Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has been at the centre of recent controversy concerning migrants rescued on the Mediterranean when he refused to let charity rescue vessels dock in Italian ports.
Last month his far-right League party introduced laws which would lead to heavy fines for any migrant NGOs which enter Italian waters.