VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - An influential Vatican advisor is slamming Church Militant as belligerent, an apostolate that employs "shocking rhetoric" to allegedly impose an "ultraconservative" political agenda in Catholic dress.
Father Antonio Spadaro, S.J. is Editor-in-Chief of La Civiltà Cattolica, considered the official voice of the Vatican and whose contents are reviewed and approved by the Vatican Secretary of State before publication. Spadaro is also one of Pope Francis' closest associates and an influential advisor. In an article titled "Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A Surprising Ecumenism," published in the current issue of the journal, Spadaro goes on the attack against American conservatives, Evangelicals and President Trump, and laments "Catholic integralists" who allegedly insert politics into their work of saving souls.
"There is a shocking rhetoric used, for example, by the writers of Church Militant," Spadaro writes, "a successful US-based digital platform that is openly in favor of a political ultraconservatism and uses Christian symbols to impose itself. This abuse is called 'authentic Christianity.'"
Michael Voris, founder of Church Militant, responded. "The hypocrisy of Fr. Spadaro is shocking," Voris says. "He accuses Church Militant of using theology to advance a political agenda — which isn't true — while he spends every waking hour using the Vatican and the Church to publicly advance a left-wing agenda."
In his article, Spadaro — referring to Michael Voris' commentary comparing the work of the current president in protecting the Church to that of secular emperor Constantine before his conversion — continues, "And to show its own preferences, it has created a close analogy between Donald Trump and Emperor Constantine, and between Hilary [sic] Clinton and Diocletian. The American elections in this perspective were seen as a 'spiritual war.'"
Spadaro goes on:
This warlike and militant approach seems most attractive and evocative to a certain public, especially given that the victory of Constantine — it was presumed impossible for him to beat Maxentius and the Roman establishment — had to be attributed to a divine intervention: in hoc signo vinces.
Church Militant asks if Trump's victory can be attributed to the prayers of Americans. The response suggested 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. In hoc signo vinces. Indeed.
He complains, "This vision generates the ideology of conquest."
In spite of the fact that La Civiltà Cattolica is vetted by the Vatican before it goes to press, questionable articles have been published promoting positions contrary to Catholic teaching. In February, Vaticanista Sandro Magister noted the "peculiar" nature of an article promoting the possibility of a female priesthood:
La Civiltà Cattolica has published an essay by its deputy editor, Father Giancarlo Pani, which seeks to reopen the possibility of ordaining women to the priesthood. This journal, published by the Jesuits but vetted by the Vatican Secretariat of State, has long been a means of communicating lines of thought which reigning popes consider important. Therefore, the kindest way to describe this particular article is "peculiar." It is, in fact, peculiar in at least three serious ways: politically, administratively and theologically.
Church Militant spoke with Dr. Christopher Manion, who writes for The Wanderer, and offered his reaction to Spadaro's current piece.
"Spadaro conjures up a curious mélange of American factoids — apparently the result of a desperate Google search — and patches them together to condemn American Catholics, Evangelicals, and other believers as the personification of evil itself — when in fact they actually recognize sin," Manion remarked.
"Spadaro notices that these faithful Christians believe that Satan is at war with the Church, hungry to devour as many souls as possible," Manion continues. "How violent! Spadaro dismisses this 'combative' pose with the same insouciant wave of the limp wrist that he dismisses the reality of sin itself."
"Rest assured, however lame and uncharitable Spadaro's attack might be, it will undoubtedly be required reading in 'social justice' classes in Jesuit universities throughout the country this fall," Manion concluded.
And in comments to Church Militant, Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute said:
Father Spadaro, often described as Pope Francis' "mouthpiece," is an open critic of Tradition and orthodoxy. It was Fr. Spadaro who wrote a post on Twitter referring to the four Cardinal signers of the dubia as "witless worms." He then created a fake Twitter account to continue his attack on the four Cardinals anonymously. Father Spadaro was also the one who infamously claimed that Catholic theology is not mathematics because, according to him, in theology, sometimes 2+2=5. If Catholic priests are called to be lights unto the world, Fr. Spadaro's personal disposition to the Truth has made him about as relevant as a glow-in-the-dark T-shirt.
Voris observes, "Father Spadaro occupies an important position with neither the wit nor intelligence to fill his position well. His article is poorly reasoned and incompetently written."
"Both the Church and Pope Francis are badly served by him," Voris adds.