Pope compares politicians who persecute gays, Jews to Hitler

Pope Francis denounced the persecution of gay people on Friday and compared public officials who stoke hatred and anti-gay sentiment to Hitler.

Francis delivered his remarks at an international conference on criminal law at the Vatican City, Reuters reported.

“It is not coincidental that at times there is a resurgence of symbols typical of Nazism,” he said. “And I must confess to you that when I hear a speech (by) someone responsible for order or for a government, I think of speeches by Hitler in 1934, 1936."

Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience, in St.Peter's Square, earlier this month.  (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience, in St.Peter's Square, earlier this month.  (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

He said persecution against Jews, Gypsies and "people with homosexual tendencies" represented a "culture of waste."

“These are actions that are typical of Nazism, that with its persecution of Jews, Gypsies, people with homosexual orientation, represent an excellent model of the throwaway culture and culture of hatred," Francis said.

He did not single out any particular politician or government.

Several countries have laws declaring homosexuality illegal; leaders such as President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil have a history of making homophobic and racists comments.

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Hitler's Nazi regime in Germany persecuted and killed millions of Jews, homosexuals and Gypsies from 1933-45, and had an elaborate array of death camps.

Francis also denounced race-based police brutality and corporate crimes against the environment, which he called a sin.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.