Papal adviser attacks American conservatives

What happened?

An article in the Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica condemned conservative Catholics in the US for forming an “ecumenism of hate” with Evangelical Protestants.

The article, by Fr Antonio Spadaro, a close confidant of Pope Francis, and Protestant pastor Marcelo Figueroa, said the roots of these groups’ “apocalyptic politics” were “not too far apart” from those of ISIS. La Civiltà Cattolica, while not an official Vatican paper, is reviewed by the secretariat of state before publication.

What the media are saying

The Guardian saw the article as a critique of the Trump administration, noting that it singled out Steve Bannon, chief White House strategist.

But Ross Douthat, a columnist for the New York Times, said the piece “reads as an attack by Francis’s inner circle on all US Catholic politics to the right of Commonweal”. On Twitter he suggested it conflated the “far extremes” of ChurchMilitant.com and Calvinist pastor Rousas John Rushdoony with “mainstream pro-life and religious-liberty politics in the US”.

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