Jesuit @AntonioSpadaro, Jesuit-run Civiltà Cattolica attacks Americans

17_07_14_screenshot_CiviltaBy 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.

There are going to be good responses to this attack on Americans and our nation by the Argentinian Presbyterian and the Jesuit expert on Tondelli. We should watch for them.

One response has come from the clear-eyed Phil Lawler, writing at Catholic Culture. HERE

A taste… but read the whole thing there (my emphases, comments):

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?  [To ask such a question suggests that the answer is already discerned.]

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.  [From their moral superiority they chastise these USA and a huge majority of its population who do, in fact, see some conflicts in terms of Good and Evil, and they smugly call it “Manichean”.  I might respond to the Italian Jesuit that, were it not for the “Manichean” view we Americans are supposed to have, he would perhaps have been raised speaking German or Russian. I might respond to him and to his Argentinian Presbyterian co-author, that Italy and Argentina never met a dictator that they didn’t like.  Given their track national track records and that of the fundamentalist Americans….]

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 [you may be saying “Who?” He was a Calvinst who was an important figure in the evolution of the “homeschool” movement.  Bringing him up is probably a way of attacking also homeschoolers, who terrify libs because they are not being formed by state-run schools and the “values” they inculcate.] and the Church Militant web site: hardly major figures in the formation of American public opinion. [Church Militant could have been brought in as an example of Catholic traditionalism.] The essay is written from the perspective of people who draw their information about America from left-wing journals rather than from practical experience.  [Do you hear the dog whistles?  This is a signal to attack homeschoolers and traditionalists, groups which often overlap.]

The central thesis of the Civilta Cattolica essay is that American conservatives have developed an ideology, based on fundamentalist Protestant beliefs, that sees the US as morally righteous, with other people as enemies and thus justifies conflict and exploitation. Again and again the authors describe this attitude as “Manichean;” they insist on the need to “fight against” it. They insist on tolerance, but they have no tolerance for this attitude. Nowhere in the essay does one find a suggestion of the attitude, made popular by Pope Francis, that the Church should “accompany” sinners. No; the sins of American conservatism are unforgivable.  [Scratch a liberal and, beneath, you find a fascist.]

Triumphalist, arrogant and vindictive ethnicism is actually the opposite of Christianity,” the authors tell us. So this is a heresy, then—the “Manichean” references were purposeful—and it must be condemned? The Vatican today lauds Martin Luther for his desire to reform the faith, but denounces Evangelical Protestants for—for what, exactly? The Civilta Cattolica essay speaks—in typically incendiary terms—of an “ecumenism of hate.” But it is not obvious, frankly, who hates whom.  [Yes, Phil, it is clear.]

[…]

Guess who the Presbyterian and Jesuit think has come to the rescue from this hate-filled fundamentalism? Yep, you got it in one.

My friend Sam Gregg of Acton Institute texted me today that he has written a response which will appear soon.  I’ll be watching for it.  [It’s HERE]

The moderation queue is ON.

UPDATE:

Thomas Peters tweets:

And:

17_07_14_tweet_Peters_Ivereigh_01

UPDATE 

Sam Gregg responded in Catholic World Report.  A salient passage:

[…]

If the Civiltà Cattolica article simply reflected the views of a random Western European Catholic priest and an Argentine Presbyterian minister, few would be concerned about its content. But Civiltà Cattolicaarticles are subject to scrutiny from the Vatican’s Secretariat of State. Hence, it’s curious that whoever signed off on this article (assuming it was properly vetted) at the Secretariat of State didn’t pick up on the authors’ conflation of tangentially-related matters, or raise questions about the article’s emotivist tone, or alert Father Spadaro and Rev. Figueroa to their distinctly amateur grasp of American religious history and the finer points of American politics. If it is the case that red flags were not raised—or were ignored—then all Catholics, American or otherwise, have reason for concern. It is simply not in the universal Church’s interests to develop or encourage substantially false understandings of the United States or the Anglosphere more generally.

[…]

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45 Responses to Jesuit @AntonioSpadaro, Jesuit-run Civiltà Cattolica attacks Americans

  1. Mike says:

    There are plenty of organic issues in the present makeup of these USA, and Americanism is a heresy. A decently educated third-year undergraduate could have tackled either of those issues with dispassion. But dispassionate scholarship is not an objective of this Papacy.

    Our Lady of Fatima, intercede for us! St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!

  2. Dimitri_Cavalli says:

    We should be careful about over analysing words, gestures, and signs.

    A few years ago, the Vatican newspaper panned a pro-Pius XII film which starred actor Christopher Lambert (of “Highlander” fame) as a cardinal. A number of Jewish publications found the review significant, thinking the Vatican was moving away from defending Pius XII. Of course, it didn’t happen. The newspaper just panned one bad film. Likewise not every book defending the pope will be good and deserves good reviews and sales.

    Apparently, if the pope scratches his ear with his left hand, is it a sign that he will no longer support negotiations with the Society of Saint Pius X?

    Likewise, Cardinal Burke talking to Steve Bannon was not a conspiracy any more than Paul Ehrlich being invited to speak at some Vatican-sponsored conference. [Those are two very different things.]

  3. benedetta says:

    It’s a very poorly written and somewhat rambling piece. I wonder how much better it would read in the original Italian. Outside of clerical inside baseball circles and Italian language interested readers, who bothers to read it?

    I have to say though it reads like something warmed over from the Obama presidential campaign I. Something written by the MSW himself actually in those heady weirded out days of slander and alinskyism to achieve election. I can’t speak to the Nixon era (too young), and I know it’s been reported that via Rove etc the Bush campaigns did reach out to evangelicals, however, the political landscape is totally changed since then on both and all sides, and it’s rather pathetic that this publication is inaccurate and out of touch, not up to date, on that score.

    I don’t know what the hatred towards evangelicals is about nor what triggered it, this week, but I suppose it was the news reports coming over trending feeds that indicated that some evangelicals prayed over the president this past week. Of course, there are photos of other presidents including the last engaged in “prayer” or the like in different traditions but that fails to arouse the same level of animus for whatever reasons.

    I think though that if there is going to be an “honest” appraisal in a sort of puff editorial aimed at Italian readers (who probably couldn’t care less at this point in time all told — because they have their own problems to deal with) as a review and critique of American politics, then Spadaro and friends really ought to do a good expose on the way that Margaret Sanger’s racist eugenicism still informs the Democratic Party, bigly even now, like currently, and how a lot of really hating xenophobes of all stripes and super misogynists, very wealthy, like uber, hang out and hide out there and animate its policies and “works”. Until I’ll just chalk this too up to the corruption and the power clericalism that shows zero compassion to actual people in need, true story.

  4. Tom W says:

    If Rome is intent on decentralizing the Church, such an intended alienation would support that objective.

  5. My thought when I read about this was: ‘Who in the States would want a hit-piece like this and have the clout to get it written?’

  6. FranzJosf says:

    Although I’ve read numerous European definitions of “integralism” used as a pejorative, I still have trouble understanding what exactly it means. I gather that it means integrating all of these ideas: Catholic Traditionalism, Catholic triumphalism, monarchy (the old “throne and altar”), respect for the old Nobility, being strongly against Modernism and philosophical Romanticism (which would include Darwin and Marx and Socialism), being against the EU, loathing the French Enlightenment and French Revolution, with some anti-Semitism thrown in from some quarters. (I’m not saying that European trads are anti-Semites; I’m saying that they get accused of it by the Left.)

    Well, with the exception of anti-Semitism and monarchy, I guess I’m an integralist. Of course, as an American, I do appreciate the Scottish Enlightenment, and I have an appreciation for Constitutional monarchy in old Europe.

    Almost all of those positions enrage the people who seem to love what they think the Holy Father stands for, just as here the idea, for example, of tax cuts causes the Left to foam at the mouth. But the knives have come out on the Catholic Left within the Church in a way I’ve never seen in my lifetime (I’m 57). Oh, they criticized the last two Popes, but now they think that they can stamp out Traditional and Conservative Catholicism once and for all. What a horrible mess we seem to be in.

  7. Elizabeth D says:

    When I was a progressive the association we had with the name Rushdoony was theocracy. I sincerely doubt homeschooling enters into it particularly. He is a somewhat obscure figure progressives allege was very influential behind the scenes (for instance in forming the sort of pro-life/marriage political coalition of Catholic and evangelical protestant that Spadaro and the Argentine Presbyterian guy consider so heinous), he was an advocate of something called Christian Reconstructionism that was terrifying to liberals, who feared the political influence of irrational “left behind” post-millennial dispensationalist theology. This article explains what we thought and the conception of the religious right that was so frightening and hateful to us: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2005/12/nation-under-god/

    When I came back to the Church I began hearing that it is a sin to vote for pro-choice politicians no matter what your reason for voting for them. I didn’t want to sin so I had to reluctantly give up on Democrats. I came to accept the idea of pro-life and defense of marriage as the moral priority issues, but did not become a Republican, rather I distanced myself from politics and concentrated on my Catholic faith. I would have preferred not to vote but I was also hearing it is a sin not to vote. In the recent presidential election that necessitated coming up with a third party write-in candidate to vote for; it has been disturbing seeing Catholics fall in behind someone as far from Catholic social teaching or clear orientation to Christian virtue as Trump.

    This last point is probably why these guys are attacking the American “religious right”. The Trump thing makes it clear from many people’s point of view that the religious right coalition has a problematic aspect. But the reasoning and rhetoric of the Civilta Cattolica article comes across as simply from the opposing political camp, the left, and is written as one writes about political opponents one does not feel obliged to be fair-minded or kind toward. They risk coming across as scheming Marxists who consider chaos a valuable precondition for revolution and chastize “ultra-conservatives” for their “fear of the breakup of a constructed order and the fear of chaos”. I would like to see people of faith not be so guided by political allegiances that heavily shape their opinion on a range of moral issues. But do these authors who are so opposed to religious alliances with political conservatism really have a similar fear of the alliance of religion with leftist politics? I wonder a little bit if they feel like the Church is bent too much toward political conservative alliances and they believe they are fixing it by bending it the other way with the intention of straightening it out. But how ham handed and haughty. And it just perpetuates the sickness of enacting the left-right political strife into the Church, this is the opposite of transcending that.

  8. G-Veg says:

    What percentage of the money that the universal church uses to function is received from the United States?

    I ask because I imagine that it must be quite large, given the dismal state of European parish life and the limited resources of many of the world’s Catholics. If Americans get angry enough at our treatment, they may pull back on that support, much as rank-and-file Republicans did to the various GOP PACs in the last General Election.

    I am not saying that would be right but it is a distinct possibility.

    I admit to being increasingly unhappy with this Papacy and having to stifle my criticisms in front of my children, lest I confuse them. That is not how it should be and it is the first time in my life that I have felt this way. (I am in my mid-40s.)

  9. excalibur says:

    It really is simple to comprehend this in Francis’ Papacy. The Pope is from Argentina, he is a Peronista at heart. That means, among other things, anti-American on various levels.

    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

    JMJ

  10. Dimitri_Cavalli says:

    Fr. Z, I should have been more clear. What I meant was that Cardinal Burke meeting Steve Bannon was not, as a number of liberals and Catholic liberals, suggested a conspiracy to deliver the Catholic vote to Trump. Likewise, the invitation to Paul Ehrlich (which I also opposed) was not a sign that the Church was getting ready to reverse Church teachings on abortion, contraception, and sterilization.

    Let’s be clear: it’s relatively easy for anyone to get a meeting with a cardinal or bishop or the pope himself (as a part of an audience with a larger group). We should be careful about putting too much significance in them.

  11. Benedict Joseph says:

    Thank you for bringing this disturbing article under the raking light.
    Ultimately we need not lament the analysis penned by a Jesuit priest and a Presbyterian pastor, both with close association with the Holy Father. Despite the nature of their commentary, Spadaro and Figueroa provide an unambiguous vision of the ethos and perspective of the current pontificate.
    We should be grateful for a transparency regretfully so uncommon these days.
    Those holding pride of place in Rome are bent on diminishing those who stand for truths and realities they regard as dispensable with the hope that the absence of authentic Catholic catechesis and the biological bomb will soon render those perceived as impediments into non-existence.
    God and history will judge.
    In the meantime we need not pretend that what exactly is transpiring is not happening.

  12. amenamen says:

    If you can understand how a highly placed Italian Jesuit could possibly identify Richard Nixon as a “fundamentalist”, you will understand everything you need to know about the problems in the Church today.

    The words have slipped their moorings. “Fundamentalism”, like the word “fascist”, is used as an epithet, without any meaning or historical context. When Harry Emerson Fosdick asked in 1922, “Shall the Fundamentalists Win?”, he did not have the Quakers, nor men like Richard Nixon, in mind. He was articulating the thinking of the Rockefellers and the “Rockefeller Republicans” at Riverside Church against the Protestants who still believed in things like the Virgin Birth.

    Nixon was a shrewd and pragmatic politician, and at least nominally a Quaker. He was no great friend of the pro-life movement or the Church, and he was not so very different from the Rockefellers. But the liberal politicians never forgave him for his one terrible offense: not “Watergate”, but his role in exposing Alger Hiss as a Soviet spy in the State Department. For this, not for his many flaws, he has become a synonym for all that is evil, and therefore, a “fundamentalist.”

  13. JustaSinner says:

    Wow, just wow! Is the Vatican out to trash its #1 source of funding, aka the United States? I guess money doesn’t matter–refreshing—but American-bashing does—how banal. (That’s a European word tossed about, too).
    The Dark One is working OVER-TIME to counter MAGA with DCCN (Destroy Christ’s Church NOW).

  14. Spade says:

    Well, it does confirm a lot of why I feel a lot more of a connection with a lot of Protestants than the leadership over in Rome.

    I know for sure I have one thing in common with the Prots I know: they at least also believe in Christ. Sometimes, when I look at the leadership, especially Jesuits, I’m not entirely sure I have that in common with them.

  15. Oxonian95 says:

    What struck me most is the shockingly out-of-date (if it were ever in-date) assessment of American politics. This country, through its elected officials, has recently sued 1. Hobby Lobby for refusing to provide abortifacients, 2. a florist and a baker for refusing to participate in a same-sex “wedding”, and 3. the Little Sisters of the Poor for refusing to provide contraceptives. Christians are attacked, ridiculed, and mocked daily by our elites, from every media outlet, school, office, agency and soapbox available. And this is incipient theocracy? I wonder what they think a secularist government more to their liking would do.

    I loathe Trump, and could not vote for him. But as I’ve tried to explain to my progressive friends (who have on more than one occasion have decided I wasn’t their friend for not agreeing with their politics), much Christian support for Trump comes from precisely the same place that Christian support for Assad, Mubarak or Hussein came from: the fear that the alternative is ever-increasing persecution. I don’t mean to equate the sort of persecution in America with the depth of suffering our brothers and sisters endure in the Middle East. But it is a difference of degree and present limitations on cultural acceptance of persecution, not in kind or intent.

  16. Chrisc says:

    The piece in la civilta cattolica was awful. It is politically worthless – as it tries to argue that Trump is doctrinaire who sees everything as bad or good, even though the lack of ideological driven policy is one of the most palpable differences between Trump and ne0-conservatives like the Bushes, or neo-Liberals like the Clintons. It is philosophically suspect with its inconsistent appeal to whether or not politics should be affected by one’s religious beliefs. It is theologically rancid, as it rejects appeals to the bible to govern life, and instead wishes only to admit Jesus as ‘lurv’ to all concerns of the state, rejecting both the natural and the divine law. It is mendacious toward American conservatives, throws the bishops’ appeal to religious freedom under the bus, and is utterly sychophantic toward Pope Francis – whose message of lurv is notably extolled far more than Jesus’ own words.

    I always admire how Francis’ rhetoric to smell like sheep is wielded by those elite who sit in Rome or elsewhere to pass judgment on a place where they very clearly have only a superficial and tangential understanding.

  17. Kathleen10 says:

    This pope, this Vatican, this magisterium, no longer feels like our friend, and as this attack shows, it has aligned itself against us. We are now the enemy. My best understanding of that, would be that this is because America elected President Donald J. Trump. Since that time, it has become clear that the pope finds him an eminently distasteful threat, and he has signaled resistance must continue. Why? President Trump stands in the way of the Islamization of the West. For that, he is deemed intolerable.
    But we thank God for him every single ever loving day, for that same reason.
    There are uglier truths behind all this in Rome, surely, but the light of day is beginning, and I say only beginning, to shine on what those truths are. No matter how bad we have thought it was or is, and believe we know the reasons and the source, it is no doubt 1000 times worse than we think.

  18. donato2 says:

    I was wondering if “Rev. Rousas Rushdoony” was a moniker that some give to Rush Limbaugh.

  19. 1173justin says:

    As a recent convert (Tiber swim team 2012) from evangelical Protestantism, I have two reactions.

    One is, did I make a mistake, should I have pursued eastern Orthodoxy?

    Two is, “is the pope Catholic” no longer a rhetorical question,

    And three, in the movie “Office Space”, a character Michael Bolton is annoyed that every one frequently asks if he’s related to the singer, Michael Bolton. one of the protagonist says ” Why don’t you change your name if you don’t like people confusing him with you?

    Michael Bolton; “Why should I change MY name? He’s the one who sucks!

    Sometimes I feel like Michael…why should I leave the Church? They’re the ones who..

  20. Polycarpio says:

    The piece was simplistic, partisan and overreaching. And it was jarringly off-message for this pontificate – bound to create a huge distraction. But other than that, it was a good article.

  21. C. says:

    “Which feeling underlies the persuasive temptation for a spurious alliance between politics and religious fundamentalism? It is fear of the breakup of a constructed order and the fear of chaos…The political strategy for success becomes that of raising the tones…, exaggerating disorder, agitating the souls of the people by painting worrying scenarios beyond any realism.”

    How does this not apply equally to the fear of theocracy, the fear of hate, the fear of “whites from the deep American South”, and the fear of “natural disasters, dramatic climate change and the global ecological crisis”, all of which seem in the eyes of the author to call for an alliance between politics and religious liberalism? Does he really think he is above politics and fear?

  22. mbutton says:

    We can assure the dear Padre that given the current state of politically inclined prelates in the Church, Americans have no temptation toward theocracy.

  23. LeeF says:

    Conservative American Catholics (Big “C” and “A”) are the target of such an attack because we are loud and vocal and well represented on the net in the marketplace of ideas. Indications are that our African brethern are just as conservative, but their leanings don’t float to the top of the marketplace of ideas as do ours, whether because of the languages they typically write and read in, or because they are more reticent than we are. We badly need to showcase the international scale of conservatism in the church. Not so that we are no longer alone in being attacked, but simply to showcase that conservative and traditional Catholicism has an international breadth and depth not otherwise apparent.

    One could hope and pray that the Jesuits will be suppressed after the demise of the current papacy, but the biological solution probably insures that without any needed effort.

  24. Filipino Catholic says:

    Here I stand. I can *will* do no other, no matter how bothersome these pestilent gadflies get. Saint Ignatius Loyola and all the Jesuit saints would barely recognize these people as members of the same Order.

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  26. KateD says:

    Hey! They forgot to mention Pro-Lifers…..

    Then their profile would perfectly match Obamas old list of biggest threats to America…lol…not jihadis, but Conservative Christians (esp Trad Catholics), homeschoolers and people who pray outside of abortion clinics.

    Strikingly similar sounds those two dog whistles make, no?

    Hmmm…same puppet master? I mean if it looks like a duck and quacks…

  27. G-Veg says:

    Thank you for pointing to something that bothers me but I couldn’t articulate. You are right that the term has joined the ever growing list of the “unmoored.” Like “racist” in 2017, it is just a placeholder, a reference point for Othering.

  28. dr.Lloyd says:

    It’s a real struggle. To the commenter who asked if he should have joined the Orthodox, I empathize. I have asked that question myself before.
    The president has caused degenerates worldwide to lose their minds. His endless victories was bad enough, but the sight of those ministers laying on hands was too much for those who hate the west.

    I have been waffling on the Church since this papacy began. I can’t leave and go Russian Orthodox because what if this is all a big test? What if years from now a Pope Burke wipes away this madness on day 1?

  29. G-Veg says:

    You are not alone, my friend. Even cradle Catholics who can’t imagine skipping a Holy Day Mass worry about the Church, for a variety of reasons.

    Fortunately, the Pope us not the Church. Sometimes he is a great blessing. Sometimes he is a cross that must be borne. But the Pope is not the Church and THIS Pope can be endured.

    There are many wonderful priests and bishops whose understanding of Charity far exceeds that of those who so publicly display their distaste for fellow Catholics.

    Please don’t let these matters diminish your zeal and fire. We need it.

  30. SenexCalvus says:

    I don’t know Italian but nonetheless gathered from his webpage that Fr. Spadaro has even written a book on Tondelli. What is it about the life and work of the late Tondelli that so interests the good father? Could there be a link between this fascination and Fr. Spadaro’s politico-theological agenda?

  31. Broggi66 says:

    Both a political and religious deplorables. We must be doing something right.

  32. Pingback: Father Z: “Integralism” is a Dog Whistle – Lisa Graas

  33. smauggie says:

    The article opens with: “Especially in some governments of the United States in recent decades, it has been noted the increasing role of religion in the electoral process and in government decisions: a role of moral order in the identification of what is good and what is bad.”

    Err, isn’t that what morality is about. Determining good and bad?

    For the record, the Manichean heresy teaches a duality between the spiritual reality of our nature and the material reality of our nature, assigning goodness to the spiritual and evil to the material.

    The article makes two uses of the term Mechanism as merely a pejorative and the author seems quite ignorant of the actual meaning of the term. At one point he equates it as the idea that there is an absolute good and absolute evil. Next he states that it means the context of a holy or righteous war or cause.

    The author states, “Francesco absolutely rejects the idea of ??the implementation of the Kingdom of God on earth . . . ” Apparently it’s been a while since he has prayed the Lord’s prayer.

    The author makes sweeping generalizations and obvious misappropriations as well.

    That is not to say that we don’t have our problems.

    Fundamentalism has a foothold in our country, in Christianity and among Catholics. There has been a concerted effort for decades to link christian and even Catholic faith to a particular secular and political ideology, by multiple parties. I think that both “major” political parties in our country are guilty of this. Even well-intentioned people have fallen into the trap of identifying their faith with a political party and I see this as a gross debasement of the great richness of our tradition of faith and the radical call of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    To the extent that this attempt of marrying faith and ideology has been successful, I see it as one of the great failings of our age.

    I think that if the author had had the skill and insight to do so, this is what he might have said.

  34. benedetta says:

    So many interesting, reasoned comments here on this.

    Clearly the inaccuracies and slanders, the rambling incoherencies, the absence of any sort of factual detail raise suspicions about what the back stories are, but I think that the nail in the coffin of our ability to render an indictment on these authors of pure corruption and thuggery here has to do with the level of their dishonesty that would pretend that American voters hadn’t expressly, even within the own competing party, the one which courts “liberal Catholics” (supposedly, according to this narrative), rejected supposedly “liberal” party’s demonstrated and ongoing racism, xenophobic tactics, anti Catholic bigotry, the countless empty promises and bait and switch of making the poor poorer while taking their loyalty for granted while continuing to really enrich and prop up the 1% in the mindless consumerist entertainment and wall street industries. I look forward to their follow up expose that details how many genuine Catholic liberals got tired of being lied to and being made scapegoats and got tired of paying for corruption and empty promises and failed policies and anti Catholic, pro death governmental “programs” and supporting establishment politics corruption. After all, it wasn’t the evangelical candidates who won the election. Even the competitor whom this article would apparently anoint billed herself heavily as an “Old time Methodist” (whatever that means). These men owe an apology to all Americans, and they ought to be fired from the Holy Father’s bosom of confidence, if there is any — which for all their big self promotion, I seriously doubt. Appearance and reality are two very different things, and in this age of deception, one does well to make the distinctions. That they engage in thuggery at lowest and highest levels comes as zero surprise to me anyway.

  35. The Civilta Cattolica article is pretty silly as an exercise of scholarship or real journalism. The telling fact is that it cites almost nothing to support its contentions.

    Not that there is nothing true in the article. It is quite true that Norman Vincent Peale was influential, and it is true that many Evangelicals are attached to millennialism (they would say pre-millennialism). So…okay?

    The move to “Catholic integralists” is laughable. This term simply makes no sense in an American context. It belongs in the context of European societies in which there were and are an established church — hence the idea of integrating it altogether. Who are these Catholics who want an established Church in the U.S.? What many of us want is that public order should be congruent with the moral law — something the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches.

    But don’t miss how revealing this is. When you see Austin Inverleigh and Michael Sean Winters and the N”C”R crowd squealing with delight, you know that this article gives you a sense of how they see the world. It also reveals quite a lot about how some segments of the western world (Europe; South America?) are sold out to the almighty secular state. It’s of a piece with the statement by the Vatican official, a couple of weeks ago, reacting to the dire situation of little Charlie Gard, to the effect that, well of course judges said he has to die, so be it. That so many Catholics in the U.S. aren’t bending the knee to the same golden idol must gall them, just as Thomas More and John Fisher’s recalcitrance galled all those who quickly endorsed King Henry’s supremacy and new marriage.

  36. James C says:

    “Inverleigh and Michael Sean Winters and the N”C”R crowd squealing with delight, you know that this article gives you a sense of how they see the world.”

    Father, not only Winters and the Fishwrap set but the likes of ‘orthodox’ Catholic celebrities like Simcha Fisher and Mark Shea. [Are they still around? I haven’t thought about either of them for quite a while. I’ll bet they still edify tens of readers weekly with their wit and observations!]

    Mark Shea in particular has effusively praised Spadaro’s heterodox hit piece and is using it to viciously and publicly attack Father Zuhlsdorf. On his Facebook platform, Shea claims Father Z “aids and assists the process of poisoning Catholics against the Pope, the Church and the Magisterium… His ‘ministry’ is a scandal. He needs to go find honest work.” [What on earth do they know about me, I wonder?]

    Shea’s slander against Father Z following Spadaro’s article gets even nastier: “What sort of ministry does he do besides slander people and ask for money? And go on cruises and jaunt off to Rome?” [Hmmm…. I don’t remember ever being on a cruise. Did I have fun?]

    Shea’s hypocrisy is breathtaking. But his gushing praise of Spadaro’s modernist mush and vicious attacks on anyone who critiques it says all you need to know about many establishment so-called ‘mainstream’ celebrity Catholics in this period of ecclesial crisis. [I wonder if they are happy.]

  37. e.e. says:

    Like Justin above, I am also a convert and have struggled deeply over the last few years. I joined the Church from an evangelical Protestant background in 2002. Every day I was in RCIA it seemed there were new headlines about the sex abuse crisis in Boston and then other dioceses. Yet never did I doubt my decision to convert.

    Until the last few months. Reading this article and its ridiculous assertions made me sick to my stomach. I don’t even know what else to say other than that. So off I go to pray, big time.

  38. kram2181 says:

    I have been greatly impressed by some Evangelical and Protestant Bible scholars: Craig Blomberg, Daniel Wallace, Darrell Bock, Craig Keener, Craig Evans, Michael Licona, Ben Witherington and Richard Bauckham to name just a few. These are all contemporary scholars who uphold the Bible as the Word of God and convincingly prove the historicity of the Bible as well as uphold traditional authorship and dating of Sacred Scripture. Granted, their exegesis on some passages falls in line with traditional Protestant thought, but they first and foremost prove the Bible as a trustworthy source of history and theology. Compare the work of these men to the current head of the Jesuits who claims that we cannot completely trust the Gospels because “nobody back then had a tape recorder.” So, as a Catholic, who is a better friend to us? These men who uphold the faith with their scholarship, or a fellow Catholic who casts doubt upon Sacred Scripture?

  39. James C:

    I don’t really know much about Ms. Fisher, so I will just wish her the best. Good people don’t always agree on everything.

    As far as Mr. Shea, I think his is a case of a profound emotional distress. He is deeply angry and hurt, and some of what he is angry about, I understand and even agree with. But he has gone too far and lost control of himself in the process. He shut down his blog for awhile — I thought that was a good move — but then he started it back up. He doesn’t want my advice (I have offered it, via comments on his blog some time back), but my advice would be to stick to what doesn’t cause him to seethe. He has done good work in explaining many things about the Faith.

  40. Marine Mom says:

    But the devil, ever astute and wicked, knowledgeable of our weaknesses, by inducing us to fight among ourselves rather than against him, found an easy way to reverse the tide of battle and his losses. Naturally we feel our own physical pains and not those of others. Conversely, given our self-love and our fallen nature, we are more aware of the faults of others than our own; and ranting at each other in high dudgeon we fight our brethren believing them our rivals, rather than the devil, our true foe who has made us forget (or not notice the crystal-clear formulation of the) the command of the Lord: conquer yourself, so as not to allow yourself to conquered by evil. Rather, conquer evil with good (cf. Rom 12,21). Conquering oneself is considerably greater than successfully besieging a city, etc. To conquer oneself is easy and honorable, because it suffices to will this, to do this with self hatred (cf.Lk 14, 25-27): this will disarm the adversary. Whereas to conquer others, it is not enough simply to will this. And even if the battle be won, the consequences are disastrous for both parties. The real victor is ever the devil who conquers both parties, victor and vanquished.
    Roman Conferences of St Maximilian M. Kolbe

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  42. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    “In somewhat broad terms, it can be used generically for the position that one’s religious beliefs should dictate THEIR politics and social involvement.”

    …HIS…

  43. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    The key fact about the Spadaro-Figueroa-Bergoglio article is that it calls the Catholic-Evangelical alliance that is the backbone of the pro-life movement “an ecumenism of hate” that dreams of establishing a theocracy.

    The position of NARAL and Archbishop Pelosi could hardly be expressed with more clarity and force. The POPE has condemned the pro-life movement as a movement of HATE.

  44. robtbrown says:

    Fr Martin Fox,

    I know little of Shea, but my impression was that he had done good work.

    What seems to happen sometimes is that the success has led them to think they know more than they do. Then they editorialize on things above their pay grade.

    I am reminded of Fr Santiago Ramirez op, perhaps the best Thomist of the past century. He was so concerned about accuracy thar he wrote comparatively little.

    Of course, the Internet has produced the Online Apologetics Industry.

  45. dallenl says:

    Interesting article and comments on Civilta. Just a brief reminder that Europeans have always had strange opinions on American civil and religious activities. Popes were not immune from this aberration. Never mind that we bailed them out in two world wars plus a cold war and provided aid to both civilian governments and to the churches. Despite the problems of the American churches, to include Catholic, mostly tied to declining attendance, the Europeans are in much worse condition as they seem hell bent on social and religious suicide (and quite literally on a personal level). Soon, whatever is left will be little more than a modern version of the carvings of Ozymandias in the desert.