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Salvini kisses rosary after Conte criticism over religious symbols

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Salvini kisses rosary after Conte criticism over religious symbols
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It wasn't just his "irresponsible", "reckless" and "alarming" behaviour as a politician that earned Matteo Salvini the ire of Giuseppe Conte in his resignation speech Tuesday.

The Italian prime minister also lashed out at Salvini's habit of brandishing a rosary at political rallies and in parliament, arguing that it "undermined the principle of secularism of the modern state".

Salvini responded by kissing his rosary.

He later made reference to Conte's accusation in his own speech. He uttered a prayer, asking for the protection of "the Holy Mary" for Italy. His League partners, Simone Pillon and Lorenzo Fontana, waved their own rosaries.

In the furore, a senator for the Democratic Party shouted: "Show us the stigmata," referring to the wounds that Christians believe Jesus Christ suffered when he was nailed to the cross.

Elisabetta Casellati, the president of the senate, reminded all members that religious symbols could not be displayed in the parliament chamber.

Finally, Nicola Morra, president of the anti-mafia commission, said that showing the rosary and asking for the protection of the Holy Mary is a coded message for membership of the mafia.

"But Salvini surely did it for ignorance, it was not his intention," she said.

It is not the first time that Salvini has been criticised for his use of religious symbols.

Last week, a Maltese bishop, Mario Grech, said that Salvini's habit of opening his rallies clutching rosary beads, arguing that it was a "clear exploitation" of the teachings of the church.

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