An Italian Jesuit magazine has strongly criticised US conservative Catholics, accusing them of joining with fundamentalist Protestants to pursue a “xenophobic” and “theocratic” state.
The article in La Civiltà Cattolica, which is reviewed by the Vatican’s secretariat of state before publication, accuses some American Catholics of wanting “walls and purifying deportations” while forming an “ecumenism of hate” with Evangelical Protestants.
Written by editor-in-chief Fr Antonio Spadaro and Argentine Presbyterian pastor Marcelo Figueroa, the article labels these Catholics “integralists” who “express themselves in ways that until recently were unknown in their tradition and using tones much closer to Evangelicals”.
“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,” the article says.
“The most dangerous prospect for this strange ecumenism is attributable to its xenophobic and Islamophobic vision that wants walls and purifying deportations,” it adds.
While the article acknowledges that the erosion of liberty is “clearly a grave threat”, it says 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.”
It names the US-based digital platform Church Militant as an example of what it calls a “warlike and militant approach” to theology and politics, accusing it of wanting to use religion as a “guarantor of the dominant classes”.
The authors contrast all this with Pope Francis, saying he advocates an ecumenism that “moves under the urge of inclusion, peace, encounter and bridges”, adding: “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.’”