Pope Francis likens some European leaders to Hitler over virus crisis

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Some of Europe’s politicians are peddling ideas similar to Nazi Germany dictator Adolf Hitler, Pope Francis said in a Wednesday interview.

In written comments to British Catholic weekly The Tablet, Francis criticized “populist speeches” and “selective” political decisions he sees being taken in Europe.

“It’s all too easy to remember Hitler’s speeches in 1933, which were not so different from some of the speeches of a few European politicians now,” the Argentine pontiff said.

Francis did not elaborate. In a previous passage of the interview, he renewed criticism of what he calls the modern “throwaway culture” which puts money before people.

“In the world of finance it has seemed normal to sacrifice (people), to practice a politics of the throwaway culture, from the beginning to the end of life,” he said.

In the current novel coronavirus pandemic, there is a debate in some countries on whether economic recovery should be prioritized, even if this may result in more lives being lost to the virus.

Francis said he was praying more and thinking about others.

“My major concern – at least what comes through my prayer – is how to accompany and be closer to the people of God,” he said, recalling how his morning Mass is now broadcast online.

The pandemic has forced extraordinary changes at the Vatican. St Peter’s Square and the Basilica are closed, and the pope addresses the faithful only via livestreamed messages and prayers.

This week’s Easter celebrations are taking place with no public audience, with traditional events like the Good Friday procession by Rome’s Colosseum canceled.

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