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The Pope Hates US

 

 

Lots of reaction to that anti-American article in La Civilta Cattolica article.  Go here to read about it.  First, from Phil Lawler at Catholic Culture:

 

With a harsh denunciation of American conservatism, published in the semi-official Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica, the Vatican has plunged headlong into a partisan debate in a society that it clearly does not understand, potentially alienating (or should I say, further alienating) the Americans most inclined to favor the influence of the Church.

 

Why? Why this bitter attack on the natural allies of traditional Catholic teachings? Is it because the most influential figures at the Vatican today actually want to move away from those traditional teachings, and form a new alliance with modernity?

The authors of the essay claim to embrace ecumenism, but they have nothing but disdain for the coalition formed by Catholics and Evangelical Protestants in the United States. They scold American conservatives for seeing world events as a struggle of good against evil, yet they clearly convey the impression that they see American conservativism as an evil influence that must be defeated.

While they are quick to pronounce judgment on American politicians, the two authors betray an appalling ignorance of the American scene. The authors toss Presidents Nixon (a Quaker), Reagan, Bush, and Trump into the same religious classification, suggesting that they were all motivated by “fundamentalist” principles. An ordinary American, reading this account, would be surprised to see the authors’ preoccupation with the late Rev. Rousas Rushdoony and the Church Militant web site: hardly major figures in the formation of American public opinion. The essay is written from the perspective of people who draw their information about America from left-wing journals rather than from practical experience.

Go here to read the rest.   Samuel Gregg at Catholic World Report gives his opinion on the piece:

This brings me to a very odd article that recently appeared in La Civiltà Cattolica: the Italian Jesuit periodical published twice a month and which enjoys a quasi-official status inasmuch as the Vatican’s Secretariat of State exercises oversight over the articles it publishes. Entitled “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A Surprising Ecumenism,” its authors Father Antonio Spadaro SJ (Civiltà Cattolica’s Editor-in-chief) and Rev. Marcelo Figueroa (a Presbyterian pastor who is Editor-in-chief of L’Osservatore Romano’s Argentinean edition), make various assertions about specific political and religious trends in the United States: claims which are, at best, tenuous and certainly badly informed.

Consider, for instance, the authors’ analogy between the theological outlook of particular strands of American Evangelicalism and ISIS. As far as I am aware, American self-described fundamentalists are not destroying 2000 year-old architectural treasures, decapitating Muslims, crucifying Middle Eastern Christians, promoting vile anti-Semitic literature, or slaughtering octogenarian French priests. Another questionable contention made in the article is that the Holy Roman Empire was constituted as an effort to realize the Kingdom of God on earth. This particular analysis will come as news to serious historians of that complicated political entity which became, as the saying goes, neither Holy nor Roman nor an Empire.

Various links are also made between climate change skepticism, the faith of white southern Christians (comments which, if applied to other racial groups, would be denounced by some as verging on bigotry), and apocalyptic thinking among some American Evangelicals. Taken together, it is claimed, these things reflect and help fuel a Manichean view of the world on the United States’ part. Then there is the article’s peculiar association of the heresy of the Prosperity Gospel with recent efforts to protect religious liberty in America.

No doubt, Evangelical scholars and others will highlight the many problems characterizing the article’s grasp of the history of Evangelical Christianity and fundamentalism in America. One agnostic friend of mine who happens to be a leading historian of American Evangelicalism at a prestigious secular university described the article’s take on this subject to me as “laughably ignorant.” I also suspect Rev. Figueroa and Father Spadaro are oblivious, for instance, to many Evangelicals’ embrace of natural law thinking in recent decades: something that, by definition, immunizes any serious Christian from fideist tendencies. But two particular claims made by the authors require a more detailed response.

Go here to read the rest.  Next, Father Z:

 

By now you may have seen the attack on Americans – conservative Americans and traditional Catholic Americans – in what some people consider a semi-official publication of the Holy See Civiltà Cattolica (now aka Inciviltà cattolica).  The title in English: “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A surprising ecumenism”

“Integralism” is perhaps not used as much in these USA as it is in Europe.  This term is a dog whistle.  In somewhat broad terms, it can be used generically for the position that one’s religious beliefs should dictate their politics and social involvement.  However, “integralism” developed in a specific context of conflict between Catholicism and modernity in Europe.  In France and Italy, the haters of Catholic tradition often refer to anyone who wants traditional worship as being “intégriste”.  It is flung like an insult.  For a quick and fascinating lesson on “integralism”, and what Spadaro is calling conservative Americans, head over to the Wikipedia article.  HERE Wiki is perfect as a source, but it gives you a rapid entry point.

The Holy See’s newspaper, the increasingly irrelevant L’Osservatore Romano, reprinted the anti-American attack with the title: “Ecumenism of Hate”

Again, this term “integralism” is a dog whistle: the troops are being called up to launch their own campaign of intolerant repression of anyone who might stand in the way of their agenda.

The vicious attack piece is penned by Fr Antonio Spadaro, the Jesuit editor of Inciviltà cattolica.  Fr. Spadaro is so interested in the life and works of Pier Vittorio Tondelli that he created his own website about him (HERE).

The co-author of the article, with the Jesuit who is dedicated to the study of Tondelli, is Marcelo Figueroa, a Presbyterian pastor, who is the editor of the Argentinian edition of L’Osservatore Romano.  He once had a TV show in Argentina with the future-Pope Francis and a rabbi. Continue Reading