Jesuit publication slams perceived evangelical-Catholic coalition in US

Confidantes of Pope Francis publish article in influential Jesuit magazine "La Civilta Catholic"

Father Antonio Spadaro. (image: Wikimedia Commons.)

An analysis piece published Thursday in La Civilta Cattolica discusses what it calls a “surprising” and unfortunate alliance between conservative Catholics and evangelicals in the U.S. on issues such as immigration – suggesting the two are in direct opposition to Pope Francis’ message of mercy.

The article, published online July 13, is co-authored by Fr. Antonio Spadaro, editor in chief of the Jesuit publication, and Marcelo Figueroa, a Presbyterian pastor who is editor in chief of the Argentine edition of L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s newspaper.

Both men are regarded as confidantes of Pope Francis. La Civilta Cattolica is also seen as a mouthpiece of sorts for the Holy See, as its text is revised and approved by the Vatican Secretariat of State before it is published.

Fr. Spadaro and Figueroa start from the US motto, In God We Trust, saying that for some this “is a simple declaration of faith,” but for others it is “the synthesis of a problematic fusion between religion and state, faith and politics, religious values and economy.”

The authors hold that in recent decades American politics have been shaped by “religion, political Manichaeism and a cult of the apocalypse.”

They cite President George W. Bush’s speaking of the “axis of evil” and the US’ duty to “free the world from evil” as an example of what they call “a Manichaean language that divides reality between absolute Good and absolute Evil.”

Fr. Spadaro and Figueroa trace these to the evangelical-fundamentalist movement which began in the early 20th century, and tie them to the consideration of the US as “a nation blessed by God.”

“They do not hesitate to base the economic growth of the country on a literal adherence to the Bible,” they write. “Over more recent years this current of thought has been fed by the stigmatization of enemies who are often ‘demonized.’”

“Another interesting aspect is the relationship with creation of these religious groups that are composed mainly of whites from the deep American South,” Fr. Spadaro and Figueroa state. “There is a sort of ‘anesthetic’ with regard to ecological disasters and problems generated by climate change. They profess ‘dominionism’ and consider ecologists as people who are against the Christian faith.”

Ecological problems are regarded by fundamentalists as signs of the apocalypse, they write, which “confirm their non-allegorical understanding of the final figures of the Book of Revelation and their apocalyptic hope in a ‘new heaven and a new earth.’”

In a section treating of the prosperity gospel, they also speak about “a particular form of proclamation of the defense of ‘religious liberty.’”

“The erosion of religious liberty is clearly a grave threat within a spreading secularism,” they write. “But we must avoid its defense coming in the fundamentalist terms of a ‘religion in total freedom,’ perceived as a direct virtual challenge to the secularity of the state.”

Next, the authors describe what they call a “fundamentalist ecumenism” developing between evangelical fundamentalists and “Catholic Integralists”, who they say are “brought together by the same desire for religious influence in the political sphere.”

They note that some Catholics “express themselves in ways that until recently were unknown in their tradition and using tones much closer to Evangelicals … Both Evangelical and Catholic Integralists condemn traditional ecumenism and yet promote an ecumenism of conflict that unites them in the nostalgic dream of a theocratic type of state.”

For Fr. Spadaro and Figueroa, “the most dangerous prospect for this strange ecumenism is attributable to its xenophobic and Islamophobic vision that wants walls and purifying deportations.”

They describe this as a paradoxical “ecumenism of hate” which contrasts with Pope Francis’ “ecumenism that moves under the urge of inclusion, peace, encounter and bridges. This presence of opposing ecumenisms – and their contrasting perceptions of the faith and visions of the world where religions have irreconcilable roles – is perhaps the least known and most dramatic aspect of the spread of Integralist fundamentalism.”

As an example, they point to the “shocking rhetoric” of Church Militant, a website formerly known as Real Catholic TV, which changed its name to in 2012 after being told by the Archdiocese of Detroit that it did not have permission to describe itself as “Catholic.”

Fr. Spadaro and Figueroa noted that the group portrayed the U.S. elections as a “spiritual war,” creating “a close analogy between Donald Trump and Emperor Constantine, and between Hilary Clinton and Diocletian.” By suggesting that Trump’s victory could be attributed to the prayers of Americans, Church Militant portrayed “a divine election,” they said.

“This warlike and militant approach seems most attractive and evocative to a certain public, especially given that the victory of Constantine – it was presumed impossible for him to beat Maxentius and the Roman establishment.”

A truly Christian theopolitical plan would be eschatological, they said.

“And this is why the diplomacy of the Holy See wants to establish direct and fluid relations with the superpowers, without entering into pre-constituted networks of alliances and influence.”

In contrast, Fr. Spadaro and Figueroa say, Pope Francis “radically rejects the idea of activating a Kingdom of God on earth as was at the basis of the Holy Roman Empire and similar political and institutional forms, including at the level of a ‘party’.”

Pope Francis, however, is fighting against “the manipulation of this season of anxiety and insecurity,” they say. The Pope “gives no theological-political legitimacy to terrorists, avoiding any reduction of Islam to Islamic terrorism. Nor does he give it to those who postulate and want a ‘holy war’ or to build barrier-fences crowned with barbed wire.”

Full story at Catholic News Agency.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    So, what is the circulation numbers for La Civilta Cattolica, now, 11 people, or 12, including Fr. Spadaro’s mother’s subscription?

    About the same as America magazine..

    • the civiltacattolica has a subscription base of 15,00 issues, published bimonthly, CC launched an english language version in february 2017. it’s an all-jesuit publication that is read by the movers and shakers of the church. i’m sure it will increase in monthly issues. the laciviltacattolica.it website has an english language page that includes an exhortation-missioning from pope frnacis that asks them to try to not have ‘closed box’ answers but be open-ended and unfinished. also a warning that giving too much of an answer may sound closed minded and ‘riigid’ and put off those who want room to question. i think that we can expect CC to be the works-in-progress shop…

      • for vatican essays and documents that represent papal thought or opinion

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes, thank you, drew, I know that La Civilta has maybe a little more than 10 subscribers, that is, counting Fr.. Spadaro’s mom, of course. Libraries like Santa Clara U, USF, JSTB, yada-yada, are expected to have the canary-cage liner on their periodical shelf (so 1960’s, a printed copy on a shelf!).

          Please don’t miss my point about LCC and Fr S, however, which is NO ONE READS THIS STUFF EXCEPT US, much to our demerit may I say.

  2. Catherine says:

    Roman Catholic Heroes: Bella Dodd

    http://romancatholicheroes.blogspot.com/2009/03/bella-dodd.html

    In the early 1950s, Mrs. Bella Dodd provided detailed explanations of the Communist subversion of the Church. Speaking as a former high ranking official of the American Communist Party, Mrs. Dodd said: “In the 1930s we put eleven hundred men into the priesthood in order to destroy the Church from within.” (continued)

    • Catherine says:

      continued…

      The idea was for these men to be ordained and progress to positions of influence and authority as Monsignors and Bishops. She stated that: “Right now they are in the highest places in the Church” — where they were working to bring about change in order to weaken the Church’s effectiveness against Communism. She also said that these changes would be so drastic that “you will not recognise the Catholic Church.” Dodd gave testimony on communist infiltration of Church and state before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee in the 1950s.

      http://romancatholicheroes.blogspot.com/2009/03/bella-dodd.html

  3. Catherine says:

    The Message of Fatima

    Sister Lucia had already given an indication for interpreting the third part of the “secret” in a letter to the Holy Father, dated 12 May 1982:

    “The third part of the secret refers to Our Lady’s words: ‘If not [Russia] will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated’ (13-VII-1917).

    (continued)

    • Catherine says:

      The Message of Fatima continued,

      The third part of the secret is a symbolic revelation, referring to this part of the Message, conditioned by whether we accept or not what the Message itself asks of us: ‘If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, etc.’.

      (continued)

      • Catherine says:

        The Message of Fatima continued,

        Since we did not heed this appeal of the Message, we see that it has been fulfilled, Russia has invaded the world with her errors. And if we have not yet seen the complete fulfilment of the final part of this prophecy, we are going towards it little by little with great strides. If we do not reject the path of sin, hatred, revenge, injustice, violations of the rights of the human person, immorality and violence, etc.

        (continued)

  4. Greg the Geologist says:

    So, the “who am I to judge?” crowd doesn’t seem to have trouble judging others after all!

  5. Catherine says:

    “For Fr. Spadaro and Figueroa, “the most dangerous prospect for this strange ecumenism is attributable to its xenophobic and Islamophobic vision that wants walls and purifying deportations.”

    Our faithful bishops can see what they are up against. That quote sounds like something written by a leftist from Moscow or a leftist at CNN. Faithful Bishops, do not be distracted by these leftist leaning tactics that are only meant to draw out a response that will still be used to paint you as being “out of touch and unloving”. There must be intellectual honesty! (continued)

    • Catherine says:

      continued,

      There have been many years of silence regarding certain moral teachings and liturgical abuses. These teachings were not enforced or upheld in many a diocese. Especially, Humane Vitae! That was the apostolic duty of each and every bishop and they will each be held accountable if they did not expect their pastors to uphold these teachings also. It was also the responsibility of the laity to learn what the Church teaches. Now all kinds of errors including the culture of death are being coddled and proclaimed from within the Church. (continued)

      • Catherine says:

        continued,
        The hour is late but never too late to listen to Our Lady’s truthful words, “In the end My Immaculate Heart Will Triumph! Each faithful bishop should be arranging a Mary’s Hour in reparation for the sins being committed in the world. This could be arranged at a local stadium and at each parish with the blessings and promotion of the local bishop. While typing this post, I received a phone call from a dear friend in Florida. The timing of her call was no coincidence. (continued)

  6. Anne T. says:

    So Fr. Spadaro thinks we can someday be at peace with a religion whose founder thought it was all right to force a nine or ten-year-old girl to “marry” him when he was in his fifties and be pawed over and worse. I thank God for the men, whether they are Evangelical, Jewish, Hindu, Catholic, Orthodox or other who protect us women from such madness. They are the same ones who protect boys from molestation, too.

  7. Catherine says:

    My friend reminded me about her husband meeting Padre Pio. Padre Pio told this faithful man that he should pray to Our Lady for the “Virtue of Perseverance” in order to get through the difficult times for the Church that were fast approaching. Those times are now! One rosary is more powerful than all of the speeches in the world. One rosary forms a solid heavenly link that chains down the evil one and his minions. The hour is late but it is not too late to implement this most powerful supernatural assistance. Faithful Bishops, actions speak louder than words! Please show your trust in Our Lady’s words, “In the End My Immaculate Heart Will Triumph!”

  8. Gratias says:

    The Vicar of God must be crazy.

  9. Michael McDermott says:

    I heartily recommend viewers take a look at the Church Militant website – to see for themselves what is being denounced, particularly the sex anarchy of the left infiltrating the Church – leading to the homosex ephebophile abuse scandal that has ruined so many Lives and Parishes:

    “Republican-Controlled House Votes for Military Funding of Transgender Surgery
    https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/republican-controlled-house-votes-for-military-funding-of-transgender-surge
    Twenty-four Republicans crossed the aisle in the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday to retain military funding of transgender surgery in the defense budget…

    The provision was filed by Rep. Vicky Hartzler, who expressed concern over funding the…

  10. Michael McDermott says:

    Here is just one reason for the Hostility to Church Militant – for daring to expose Evil:

    “Homosexual Ring in NY Archdiocese Reaches Highest Levels
    https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/source-ny-vicar-general-leader-of-gay-ring-in-archdiocese

    Note: This is an involved story reaching back decades and involving people of high rank. Many of the facts are sordid and difficult to digest, and we note them here not to scandalmonger, but rather to expose this corruption to the light of day. It is only when the disinfecting light of the sun is allowed to shine on the filth that has festered in the dark that a cleansing and reform can truly begin.

    Sources from within the New York archdiocese are revealing that a corrupt homosexual…

  11. Guido and Goober do protest too much.

  12. anonymous says:

    It would be very upsetting to Fr. Spadaro, with his finely thought-out reflections in La Civilta, to have it pointed out to him that Cal-Catholic likely may have 20 times, perhaps 100 times, the circulation of his relic of a once-great theology periodical.

    Now La Civilta has become merely a rather pricey canary-cage liner. For atheist canaries, by the way. (Don’t use it for fishwrap, if you intend to eat that fish..)

  13. Michael McDermott says:

    One Man’s Response to Fr. Antonio Spadaro
    https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/one-mans-response-to-fr.-antonio-spadaro
    by Church Militant
    My faithful, gentle Father Spadaro:

    First: Thank you, thank you, and thrice thank you for providing a touchstone by which the basis for Church Militant’s customary vehemence might be lucidly appraised
    As my 32nd President quipped, one ought to be judged more by the view of his opponents rather than his supporters
    So once more, thank you for making the lines that separate us nice and bright
    I deem low insults from you constitute high praise anyway

  14. Antonio Spadaro is a very close friend of Pope Francis. When Spadaro speaks or writes, you can bet that Francis has blessed it.

  15. It’s good when your enemies confront you plainly instead of speaking in vague generalities, even if it’s their leader doing so by proxy.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I just want to warn people to beware of what you buy on line. I just bought a small sacred item from a group that I thought was Eastern Rite Catholic, only to find out they are not connected with the Catholic Church and are not Eastern Rite Catholic nor even orthodox. They ordain women. They call themselves the Orthodox Catholic Church of America. It is getting more and more confusing out there.

  17. The average Georgia Cracker has more Civiltà in his jug thumb than Spadaro and Figueroa have in their most fabulous wardrobe ensembles.

    • Anne T. says:

      And if it were not for all those Cajun crocodile hunters in the South of this here U.S. of A — you know with their guns and Bibles — the “fashionistas” would not have all those beautiful shoes and purses, and the local PETA members would get eaten by an overabundance of crocs coming on land to get them. And that ain’t no crock!

      Sorry, I could not help myself. PC is not one of my virtues.

  18. Michael McDermott says:

    Pope Francis: Clean Your House
    by Bradley Eli July 17, 2017
    https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/homoheresy-begets-pederasty-and-gay-clerical-scandals

    The scandal of homosexual clerics preying on young males and the latest gay sex stings in the Vatican are but symptoms of the homoheresy. The depraved lifestyle of gay priests expresses their rejection of Church teaching on the intrinsic evil of homosexual relations

    The homoheresy and its resulting lifestyle leads to the homolobby, as coined by Polish priest Fr. Dariuz Oko in his 2012 article titled “With the Pope Against the Homoheresy.” During an interview in Poland, Fr. Oko told Michael Voris that as many as 10 percent of the clergy worldwide are…

  19. God bless St. John Paul II for what he did. God bless Ronald Reagan for his speech about the Evil Empire, which I do not think I heard all of at the time. God bless Surgeon General Koop for speaking the truth about what was going on in San Francisco. May they, through the the mercy of God rest in peace. I get it Fr. Z. , not all of it, but I get it now. God works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform.

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