Two allies of Pope Francis have authored an article taking aim at ultraconservative American Catholics for teaming up with American evangelicals in an alliance of “hate.” The essay argues that hard-line Catholics in America are too fixated on divisive political battles that represent “a poor and abusive perversion” of religious experience. Honestly, if you can get past some of the more formal language, it’s a pretty satisfying read in the sense that it represents a “shot across the bow” from the Vatican at American fundamentalism. The New York Times writes:
The authors, writing in a Vatican-vetted journal, singled out Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, as a “supporter of an apocalyptic geopolitics” that has stymied action against climate change and exploited fears of migrants and Muslims with calls for “walls and purifying deportations.”
The article warns that conservative American Catholics have strayed
into the deepening political polarization in the United States. The writers even declare that the worldview of American evangelical and hard-line Catholics, which is based on a literal interpretation of the Bible, is “not too far apart’’ from jihadists.
It is not clear if the article, appearing in La Civiltà Cattolica, received the pope’s direct blessing, but it was extraordinary coming from a journal that carries the Holy See’s seal of approval. There has apparently been no reprimand from the pope, who is not shy about disciplining dissenters, and La Civiltà Cattolica’s editor has promoted the article nearly every day since it was published in July.
In response, conservative Catholics apparently aren’t taking too kindly to the critique.