An Italian Jesuit magazine has sharply criticised the political attitudes of some in the Church in the US, decrying a "strange form of surprising ecumenism" that it says promotes conflict in pursuit of a dream of a future theocracy, NCR Online reports.
The article published yesterday in La Civiltà Cattolica, which is reviewed by the Vatican before publication, says some Catholic conservatives in the US have built ties with fundamentalist evangelicals for political purposes that evince "enormous differences" with Pope Francis.
The authors — editor-in-chief Jesuit Fr Antonio Spadaro and Marcelo Figueroa, an Argentine Presbyterian pastor who leads his country's edition of Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano — call such Catholics "integralists" and say they "express themselves in ways that until recently were unknown in their tradition".
"Evangelical and Catholic integralists condemn traditional ecumenism and yet promote an ecumenism of conflict that unites them in the nostalgic dream of a theocratic type of state," write Fr Spadaro and Mr Figueroa.
"The most dangerous prospect for this strange ecumenism is attributable to its xenophobic and Islamophobic vision that wants walls and purifying deportations," they continue, nodding towards US President Donald Trump's campaign promises. "The word 'ecumenism' transforms into a paradox, into an 'ecumenism of hate'.
￼"Clearly there is an enormous difference between these concepts and the ecumenism employed by Pope Francis with various Christian bodies and other religious confessions," the authors continue. "His is an ecumenism that moves under the urge of inclusion, peace, encounter and bridges."
The magazine is making available an English translation. The article carries the title: "Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism: A surprising ecumenism."
Fr Spadaro is known to be a close associate of Pope Francis. The two had a wide-ranging interview shortly after Francis' election, which was published in Jesuit magazines around the world. Mr Figueroa is likewise known to be close to the Pope.
Yesterday's article appears to be an unusually sharp critique of Catholics in a specific country by a Vatican-backed publication.
Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism: A surprising ecumenism (La Civiltà Cattolica)
Vatican-backed journal attacks American conservative Catholics (Catholic Herald)