Pope adviser blasts pro-crucifix bill in Italy: 'Hands off!'

July 25, 2018 - 1:52 pm

ROME (AP) — A close adviser to Pope Francis has criticized legislation proposed by the right-wing League party that would require a crucifix to be displayed at public spaces and institutions, including ports and universities.

The Rev. Antonio Spadaro, editor of the Jesuit magazine Civilta Cattolica, wrote "Hands off!" in a tweet that went viral on Wednesday.

Spadaro said the cross should never be used as a politicized symbol of identity, but "screams love to the enemy and unconditional welcome."

It was an apparent critique of the current Italian government's efforts to keep migrant rescue ships from docking in Italy.

The bill has reignited a debate on the role of the cross in Italy. In sharp contrast with Italy's new hard-line immigration policy, Francis encourages acceptance of migrants.

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