Pope Francis said he was “concerned” about recent political rhetoric, cautioning against nationalism and saying that recent political speeches he’s heard “resemble those of Hitler in 1934.”
“I am concerned because we hear speeches that resemble those of Hitler in 1934,” he said in an interview published by Italian daily La Stampa on Friday. “’Us first. We … We … These are frightening thoughts.”
The pontiff’s comments came as Italy’s populist government appeared to be on the verge of collapse.
Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini called for the parliament to be dissolved and asked President Sergio Mattarella to institute snap elections as an attempt to push the country’s government further right politically, The Washington Post reported.
The paper noted that Salvini has drawn comparisons to President Trump for his rhetoric saying Italy should be put first and that the country should crack down on immigration.
In the interview Friday, Francis called for migrants to be integrated into society and said nationalism is an “attitude of isolation.”
In January 2017, in response to a question about populism, Francis told Spain’s El Pais that before World War II, there was “a people who were immersed in a crisis, who were searching for their identity until this charismatic leader came and promised to give their identity back, and he gave them a distorted identity, and we all know what happened.”
The same year, Francis said that “nationalist agendas risk thwarting the courageous dreams of the founders of Europe.”