It isn’t often that any secular humanist can find a point of agreement with a religion, especially a religion with a sordid history of inhumanity in the name of god. Although there have been what appear to be reasons for hope with an alleged “liberal” Pope heading up the Catholic Church, it always turns out to be more of the same despite some hints things are going to be different. Last week was different, though, because in a “Vatican-approved and reviewed” article being hailed as “explosive,” two of Pope Francis’ closest allies lashed out with religious fervor at “the spurious alliance between politics and religious fundamentalism in the United States.”
Pope Francis’ allies, Antonio Spadaro and Marcelo Figueroa “called out” evangelical dominionist groups “composed mainly of whites from the deep American South” for rejecting the “global ecological crisis” and their dire “Armageddon-infused rhetoric.” The two authors were very adept at pointedly drawing parallels to Islamic fundamentalism. The two men charged the evangelical fundamentalist movement of seeking to control “the political and parliamentary sphere and in the judicial and education areas so that public norms can be subjected to [the evangelicals] religious morals.” (author bold)
The Pope’s allies had no qualms calling out the political organizations and networks feeding the “apocalyptic” politics polluting the entire American conservative movement. They specifically noted a nasty religious right conservative group, the Council for National Policy and the machinations of one of their exponents, Steve Bannon, as “staunch supporters of apocalyptic geopolitics.” And, they did not hold back attacking something this author has screamed about for a couple of decades in print and digital media; “Catholic Integralists” who are attempting to force their domineering “religious influence in the public sphere.” The article states:
“Appealing to the values of fundamentalism, a strange form of surprising ecumenism is developing between Evangelical fundamentalists and Catholic Integralists. . . . Some who profess themselves to be Catholic express themselves in ways that until recently were unknown in their tradition and using tones much closer to Evangelicals. They are defined as value voters as far as attracting electoral mass support is concerned. . . . This meeting over shared objectives happens around such themes as abortion, same-sex marriage, religious education in schools and other matters generally considered moral or tied to values.”
It isn’t exactly clear why it took the Vatican a couple of decades to figure out that, as this author has “screamed about forever;” the “defining feature of the Christian Right in America is the conservative evangelical-Catholic convergence.” Remember, it was in 1970 that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that introduced the Southern religious right to their terrible “loss of religious liberty” to control the masses that threatens this nation more than ever today.
The two authors were spot on in identifying the “shocking rhetoric” of the “Church Militant” and other pro-Trump organizations that “are openly in favor of a political ultraconservatism and uses of Christian symbols to impose itself:”
“The American elections in this perspective were seen as a ‘spiritual war’ . . . Church Militant asks if Trump’s victory can be attributed to the prayers of Americans. The response is affirmative. The indirect missioning for President Trump is clear: he has to follow through on the consequences. This is a very direct message that then wants to condition the presidency by framing it as a divine election.”
Naturally, an American Archbishop from Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, attacked the Vatican article as an “exercise in dumbing down and inadequately presenting the nature of Catholic/evangelical cooperation” against the U.S. Constitution’s attacks on the religious freedom of the aspiring theocrats. Chaput claims there is no “political warfare cloaked as spiritual warfare;” it is just the logical and necessary outcome of the Constitution’s attacks on “the traditional church.” Chaput claims that:
“Their current mutual aid, the ecumenism that seems to worry La Civilta Cattolica, is a function of shared concerns and principles, not ambition for political power. . . . Dismissing today’s attacks on religious liberty as a ‘narrative of fear’—as the La Civiltà Cattolica author curiously describes it—might have made sense 25 years ago. Now it sounds willfully ignorant. It also ignores the fact that America’s culture wars weren’t wanted, and weren’t started, by people faithful to constant Christian belief.”
Messrs. Spadaro and Figueroa call this nonsense from the American religious right Archbishop Chaput false ecumenism; this author calls it what it really is, pure unadulterated bullshit and a filthy dirty lie. The two Vatican allies accurately explained what it really is: “an ecumenism of conflict that unites them in the nostalgic dream of a theocratic state that ‘wants walls and purifying deportations.’” They also say that by stark contrast, Pope Francis’ ecumenism “moves under the urge of inclusion, peace, encounter and bridges.” (Author bold)
As noted at the beginning of this piece, it is extremely seldom that one can find anything to agree on with the Catholic Church, but by dog these two ‘Christians’ certainly nailed the religious right and Catholic crusade for “their dream of a theocratic state” smack on the head. Where they are confused though is underestimating the power of the religious right despite the cretins are in the minority.
They claim that Pope Francis seriously “wants to break the organic link between culture, politics, institution and the Church,” but “that link” underpins the entire conservative movement in America. It will take more than Pope Francis’ efforts to break that link because for some unknown reason Americans are terrified of uttering an unkind word about the ambitious theocratic takeover of America. If politicians, especially Democrats, would identify evangelical fundamentalists as the source of the danger to democracy and Americans as a free people, the Pope may see that dangerous link broken and theocrats in the conservative movement permanently put out of our misery.