Robert Royal on the anti-American Spadaro/Figueroa smear

The well-deserved fallout continues for the vicious anti-American attack piece penned at Inciviltà cattolica by Jesuit Fr Antonio “2+2=5” Spadaro, who is also so interested in the life and works of Pier Vittorio Tondelli that he created his own website about him (HERE).

Today I read at The Catholic Thing a great commentary by Robert Royal, called “Are Americans from Mars?”

At first I thought he was going in the direction of “Americans are from Mars, Jesuits are from Venus”. Which could be true… unless they are from Ganymede.

Prof. Royal, whose mind was surely honed on Dante (US HERE – UK HERE) rather than on Tondelli, makes a great analogy using the mysterious Red Planet and Spadaro/Figueroa’s long-distance viewing of these USA.

Here are a few amuse-bouches with my usual treatment:

Percival Lowell was a member of the distinguished Boston Lowell family, graduate of Harvard, founder of the Lowell Observatory, the most prominent American astronomer – some say – until Carl Sagan. He also believed, on the basis of what he thought careful scientific observation, that there were canals on Mars, and wrote several books about what might have driven Martians to such a vast undertaking.

Unfortunately, his “observations” were an optical illusion (as several scientists already knew in Lowell’s day). Recent Mars probes have discovered no signs of the civilization Lowell thought once existed there.

Fr. Antonio Spadaro, S.J., editor of La Civiltà Cattolica, and Marcelo Figueroa, a Presbyterian hand-picked by Pope Francis to be editor on the Argentinian edition of L’Osservatore Romano, have recently made quite controversial observations about America in “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A Surprising Ecumenism.”

They are, with good reason, destined to suffer the fate of poor Percival Lowell.

It’s not that they don’t have some data. But like many distant observers who know little of the concrete reality they are describing, they mistake the relative size and significance of almost everything.


Their main fear is that the collaboration of Catholics and Evangelicals in fighting the culture war is really a bid to create a theocracy in America. You usually hear a charge like that from Planned Parenthood or gay-rights groups or fringe academics. Not from the Vatican.  [Could the alliance between Catholics and Evangelicals have resulted in the fact that WE are the ones under attack rather than we being the ones on the attack?]

Further, the authors opine, the participants in this “surprising ecumenism” indulge in a “Manichean” view of Good vs. Evil that sees America as the Promised Land and her enemies as enemies of God whom it’s only right to destroy, literally, with our armed forces.

Taking this as the heart of the Evangelical-Catholic alliance is so delusional that a Catholic must feel embarrassed that a journal supposedly reviewed and authorized by the Vatican would run such slanderous nonsense. The authors would have done better to get out and see some of America rather than, it seems, spending so much time with left-wing sociologists of religion.


Go read the rest of his piece over there.  It will not disappoint, unto the end.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in The Drill and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. bobbird says:

    I must suggest yet again that there is some truth in the Left-European complaint about evangelical Americans being blind cheerleaders for all-things-military. Evangelical pastor Chuck Baldwin would be the first to point this out. That is not to say that prolife and tradition-minded Catholics agree with this. Evangelicals have been chasing their tails over the Book of Revelation for fifty years, and Catholics would be well out of their heretical Biblical interpretations. While I certainly agree with the analysis that these Vatican Lefties are more interested in debunking the Catholic-Evangelical alliance in the culture war, let us pray to the Queen of Peace that our government stops making endless war around the globe — wars that are supported by most evangelicals in a perceived defense our own and one other nation in the Middle East.

  2. Semper Gumby says:

    bobbird: Yes, let’s pray to both our Holy Mother for peace and to St. Michael the Archangel to defend us in battle. You might be interested in George Weigel’s writings on Just War that date back to the First Gulf War.

    Your use of the terms “endless wars” and “perceived defense” seems to be sloganeering. Please be specific about those two terms and how they apply to “…one other nation in the Middle East.”

    We find ourselves today in a world with: numerous rogue and failed states; VNSAs (violent non-state actors) hosted by the former and parasitic in the latter; EMP and Super EMP weapons; satellite-ejected munitions; genome editing and CRISPR that can increase the transmissibility and virulence of bioweapons and entomological (insect) warfare; bioweapons developed to target not humans but crops and livestock (famine); etc.

    As the 21st century progresses the West will probably have to consider the use of military force on numerous occasions (perhaps similar to, or stronger than, Pres. Trump’s recent missile strike on Syria or Pres. Clinton’s 1998 Operation Desert Fox in Iraq). Vapid sloganeering will not be helpful in resolving future situations as peacefully and rapidly as possible.

    There is a distinct difference between the apocalyptic theology of certain Protestant sects and the apocalyptic intent of, say, ISIS or Iran.

    Fr. Z: Great article by Robert Royal, thanks.

Comments are closed.