US Catholics formed alliance of hate to back Trump: Pope’s associates

Two close associates of Pope Francis have accused American Catholic ultraconservatives of making an alliance of “hate” to back President Trump, further alienating them from the Vatican’s good graces, The New York Times reports.

Published : 3 August 2017, 08:08 AM
Updated : 3 August 2017, 08:08 AM

The article published in a Vatican-vetted journal says conservative American Catholics have strayed dangerously into the deepening political polarisation in the US. The writers even declare that the worldview of American evangelical and hard-line Catholics, which based on literal interpretations of the Bible, is “not too far apart’’ from those of jihadists.

The article singles out Stephen Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist, as a “supporter of apocalyptic geopolitics” which has stymied action against climate change and exploited fears of migrants and Muslims with calls for “walls and purifying deportations.”

It is not clear if the article received the pope’s direct blessing but it has not yet been reprimanded by the pope.

The 2013 election of Pope Francis has worried conservatives due to his reduced attention to the social issues that have animated them, such as abortion and same-sex marriage.

Francis, the first Latin American pope, has often criticised capitalism and has a complicated view of the United States, the New York Times said.

Fans of the article published in Civiltà Cattolica article said it made clear that the conservatives who ran the American church for decades were out of step with the new Catholic mainstream under Francis.

Massimo Faggioli, a professor of historical theology at Villanova University and a contributor to liberal Catholic journals, said the article would “be remembered in church history as one of the most important to understand the Vatican of Francis and the United States and American Catholicism.”

American Catholicism, he argued, “has become different than mainstream European Catholicism and mainstream Latin American Catholicism,” and has fallen “into the hands of the religious right.”

Many Catholic supporters of President Trump, who won the white Catholic vote, were already wary of Francis for suggesting during the campaign that the then-presidential nominee was “not Christian” because of his preference for building walls rather than bridges.

Archbishop Charles J Chaput of Philadelphia, a conservative, called the article “an exercise in dumbing down and inadequately presenting the nature of Catholic/evangelical cooperation on religious freedom and other key issues.”

The pope has angered conservatives by repeatedly declining to elevate Archbishop Chaput to the rank of cardinal, a requirement for entrance into the conclave that will choose the Pope’s successor.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher