Power play: Papal aide's manhole act angers Italy's Salvini

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has taken aim at a Vatican cardinal who climbed into a utility manhole to restore electricity to squatters in a government-owned building, pitting Pope Francis' humanitarian priorities against far-right Italian politics.

Salvini was incensed by Cardinal Konrad Krajewski's actions. A rising force in Europe's far-right politics, he is insisting that Krajewski pay 300,000 euros in back utility bills for the Rome building, grumbling that Italians who pay for their own power must be "fools."

But Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano on Monday praised the cardinal's activities as a "gesture of humanity."

Salvini has previously railed against Pope Francis for telling governments they can't close their borders to those in need like migrants.

Eager to be Italy's next premier, he is working to unite far-right parties for the upcoming European Parliament elections.