Photos and videos of a funeral in Italy show mourners covering a coffin with a Nazi flag and making fascist salutes
The Vicariate of Rome has issued a statement condemning a funeral procession outside a church that saw mourners gather around a swastika-covered casket while shouting ?Presente!? and making fascist salutes with their right arms.
Italian news site Open published photos and videos of the situation outside St. Lucia church in Rome, sparking backlash over the presence of the Nazi symbol at a religious establishment.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the Catholic Church in Rome denied any knowledge of what transpired, claiming the parish priest and the priest who conducted the funeral were unaware what happened outside after the service concluded.
"This ideological and violent exploitation, especially following an act of worship near a sacred place, remains serious, offensive and unacceptable for the church community of Rome and for all people of goodwill in our city," the Vicariate of Rome said.
The Vicariate stated that the parish had confirmed that the events outside the church "took place without any authorization from either the parish priest or the celebrant priest" who had been "unaware" of the planned events before they occurred, calling the Nazi flag "a horrible symbol irreconcilable with Christianity."
St. Lucia church was quick to distance itself "from every word, gesture and symbol used outside the church, attributable to extremist ideologies far from the message of the Gospel of Christ."
Pope Francis, who is officially the bishop of Rome, has not commented on the situation so far.