April 27, 2009
A priest has shocked parishioners by welcoming them to church wearing a swastika armband.
Fascist Father Angelo Idi, 51 - who once saw off a charity box thief with a truncheon at his church in Vigevano, Italy - confessed: "I am proud of my right wing beliefs. But people shouldn't care about my politics, they should care about how good a priest I am."
In northern Italy where former dictator Benito Mussolini comes from the far right Italian LEGA NORD (Northern League) have their political stronghold - and there have been several instances of priests with far right views that have embarrassed the Catholic Church.
Last month a right wing Italian priest who is a member of Richard Williamson's Pius fraternity was caught giving the Hitler salute at a neo-fascist rally - but claimed he was just trying to bless his flock.
Catholic priest Giulio Tam, well known for his extremist right views, raised his right arm when speaking at a rally of the neo-fascist Forza Nuova party in Bergamo, northern Italy.
The ultra-conservative Pius fraternity hit the headlines recently as British Catholic bishop and Holocaust denier Richard Williamson is a member.
After a picture revealed Tam raising his right hand, he argued: "The young people of the Forza Nuova wanted me to bless them. I'll always be on their side."
Tam regards Italian dictator Benito Mussolini as a martyr and has in the past held masses at Mussolini's grave.
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