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Papal advisers lash out at American conservatives, Catholic-Evangelical alliance

July 13, 2017

Two close advisers to Pope Francis have published an article in Civilta Cattolica in which they decry a “Manichean” strain in American conservativism and a political alliance between Catholics and Evangelical Protestants.

The essay in Civilta Cattolica argues that American conservative leaders, including Presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Donald Trump, have been heavily influenced by fundamentalist Protestant thought. This influence, the authors claim, shows itself in a tendency that “divides reality between Good and absolute Evil” and encourages confrontation.

Many Americans “who profess themselves to be Catholic” have been drawn into the same way of thought, the authors argue. The essay expresses concern about the alliance of Catholics and Evangelical Protestants in the bloc identified as “values voters.”

“Clearly there is an enormous difference between these concepts and the ecumenism employed by Pope Francis with various Christian bodies and other religious confessions,” the authors write. “Francis wants to break the organic link between culture, politics, institution and Church.”

The Civilta Cattolica essay is co-authored by Father Antonio Spadaro, the journal’s editor, who has been a regular adviser to the Pontiff; and Marcelo Figueroa, the Argentinean Presbyterian pastor who was recruited by Pope Francis to launch an edition of L’Osservatore Romano for that country.

The appearance of the essay in Civilta Cattolica is itself significant, since the contents of the Jesuit journal are vetted by the Vatican in advance of publication.


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  • Posted by: rjbennett1294 - Jul. 14, 2017 7:22 AM ET USA

    Who knew? Not only are we "obsessed," "doctors of the law," "neo-pelagian," "self-absorbed," "restorationist," "fundamentalist," "rigid," "ideological," "hypocritical," "idolaters," "rebels," and "heretics," we're also Manichaeans!

  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Jul. 14, 2017 2:57 AM ET USA

    This is beyond pathetic but 100% reflective of the pope's politics. The authors had two choices to make: get on the pope's side by some kind of ecumenist Lutheran statement or get on the pope's side by blasting the C-EP "value voters" aka the deplorables in other circles. The "advisors" forgot to include Kim Jong-in; I never knew he was a fundamentalist Protestant. The Catholic Church burns while the prelates fiddle...

  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Jul. 13, 2017 9:48 PM ET USA

    Why be surprised protestant presidents are influenced by protestant thought? Why worry about Conservative Catholics and Evangelical Protestants who divide reality between good and evil, and tend to vote the same way? What about the conflict of interest in a Presbyterian minister launching an edition of the Vatican newspaper in Argentina? The OT says today I place before you life and death; Christ says you are either with me or against me. I much prefer that to anything goes papal statements.

  • Posted by: Cincinnatus - Jul. 13, 2017 7:17 PM ET USA

    "In this sphere, the pope does not want to say who is right or who is wrong for he knows that at the root of conflicts there is always a fight for power. So, there is no need to imagine a taking of sides for moral reasons, much worse for spiritual ones." Huh? I thought that's what Popes do! And Francis certainly takes sides all the time. But since the document is radically, and irredeemably, incomprehensible, I don't think it will do much harm--to the faithful or to the Holy Father.

  • Posted by: MWCooney - Jul. 13, 2017 6:35 PM ET USA

    The Jesuits have been thoroughly corrupted over the past few decades, and they finally got their man into the seat of Peter. The only consistency and clarity in this pontificate is its rejection of traditional (read: unchanging) Catholic teaching, and the venomous calumny it uses to attack all who oppose it. We have had bad popes in the past, and the Church has survived, but we may not see it in our lifetimes, and there will be much pain and loss of souls in the meantime. Pray for the Church!

  • Posted by: jackbene3651 - Jul. 13, 2017 5:59 PM ET USA

    Nice ecumenical move, Pope Francis.

  • Posted by: shrink - Jul. 13, 2017 2:32 PM ET USA

    The best line in the essay is the "ecumenism of hate." But there are numerous misfires in the essay. The "hate" invective belongs with the political left in the US, it's called multiculturalism. ( I suspect this essay was ghost written by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which this Pontificate seems to share more common ground than with its immediate predecessors.) It was a tactical error to target Voris as the badboy-any doubt Voris's gay targeting seems to have gotten under Spadaro's skin?