Papal Advisor Pushes Article Bashing Church Militant

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by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  January 7, 2020   

Catholic theologian: Fr. Spadaro blurs 'line between paradox and contradiction'

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VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - An influential papal advisor is telling the public to revisit his 2017 article that accuses Church Militant of collaborating in an "ecumenism of hate" with supporters of President Donald Trump.

The advisor, Fr. Antonio Spadaro, S.J., is editor-in-chief of La Civiltà Cattolica, which published his screed titled "Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A Surprising Ecumenism." In it, he slammed Church Militant for allegedly collaborating with U.S. Catholics and Protestants to elect Trump. He characterized this alliance between "evangelical fundamentalism and Catholic integralism in the USA" as a so-called "ecumenism of hate."

On Jan. 4, Spadaro recommended this same article, tweeting, "In Miami Speech, #Trump, in his first public appearance since the strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim #Suleimani, tells Evangelical Base: #God Is 'on Our Side' http://ow.ly/cXO730q6M7y. Perhaps it's time for reading again this on @civcatt."

Church Militant reached out to an eminent Catholic theologian from the United Kingdom to get his take on Fr. Spadaro's essay. The theologian, who has been a professor for over two decades at a university in Britain and wishes to remain anonymous, said he wouldn't give Spadaro very high marks.

Reading Antonio Spadaro set me in mind of marking student essays. In the liberal arts post-modern jungle, it was cool to write gobbledegook. There was no truth, no value, no coherence; just the Gordian knot of intellectual jargon where the line between paradox and contradiction was perpetually and deliberately obscure.

Pope Francis has also recently endorsed Spadaro's controversial essay. In comments published by La Civiltà Cattolica in September, the Pope directed 24 Jesuits gathered at the nunciature in the archdiocese of Maputo, Mozambique, to read his article:

Two important articles in Civiltà Cattolica have been published in this regard. I recommend them to you. They were written by Fr. Spadaro and the Argentinean Presbyterian pastor, Marcelo Figueroa. The first article spoke of the "ecumenism of hatred." The second was on the "theology of prosperity." Reading them you will see that there are sects that cannot really be defined as Christian.

Francis made these comments while fielding a question about "Protestant sects" using the "promise of wealth and prosperity to make proselytes."

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia in 2017 took exception to Spadaro's article, saying American Catholics and Protestants are collaborating valiantly in defense of religious freedom.

He refuted what he called "willfully ignorant" points made in the article, affirming that "groups that fight for religious liberty in our courts, legislatures and in the public square ... are heroes, not 'haters.'"

It's an odd surprise when believers are attacked by their co-religionists merely for fighting for what their Churches have always held to be true.

The archbishop questioned Fr. Spadaro's attack on such people: "So it's an especially odd kind of surprise when believers are attacked by their co-religionists merely for fighting for what their Churches have always held to be true."

The U.K. theologian told Church Militant that writers like Fr. Spadaro don't intend their words to be fully understood. They use language to deliberately blur the truth. 

"This defense of Pope Francis carried all the hallmarks of both the language and the intellectual vanity and obscurity that post-modern writing about the un-truth comprises of," he said. "It lures you down alleyways of whirling vortices which take you further from, not closer, to reality. It muddles meaning until you give up, numbed by verbal inexactitude. And what is the goal? It is to disenfranchise you of having an opinion by washing you in ... chaos."

 

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