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1ST LEAD Vatican-approved article attacks Steve Bannon and US religious right By Alvise Armellini, dpa

Europe
16.07.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Rome (dpa) - Donald Trump‘s chief strategist Steve Bannon and Christians extremists that have sided with the US president have a dangerously "fundamentalist" world view, according to two confidants of Pope Francis.

In a Sunday comment on Italian daily La Repubblica, church historian Alberto Melloni said the papal aides have laid bare "an unprecedented conflict" between Francis, the "catho-evangelical religious cartel and the Trump clan."

Their article, published Saturday on La Civilta Cattolica, condemned the "ecumenism of hate," espoused by "Evangelical fundamentalists and Catholic integralists," and "its xenophobic and Islamophobic vision that wants walls and purifying deportations."

Father Antonio Spadaro, editor of the influential Jesuit magazine, and Marcelo Figueroa, a Protestant pastor who edits the Argentinian version of the Vatican newspaper, L‘Osservatore Romano, were the authors. Both are personal friends of the pope.

They described Bannon, a Catholic who in a 2014 speech called for a new Christian holy war, as someone who wants to "submit the state to the Bible with a logic that is no different from the one that inspires Islamic fundamentalism."

They also singled out the "shocking rethoric" of US ultraconservative Catholic website Church Militant, which compared Trump‘s victory against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton to the defeat of Diocletian by Constantine, the first Christian emperor of Ancient Rome.

"There is an enormous difference between these concepts and the ecumenism employed by Pope Francis with various Christian bodies and other religious confessions. His is an ecumenism that moves under the urge of inclusion, peace, encounter and bridges," the authors said.

Francis "does not want to say who is right or who is wrong" in world affairs, and "radically rejects the idea of activating a Kingdom of God on earth as was at the basis of the Holy Roman Empire," Spadaro and Figueroa said.

In a rejoinder, Church Militant author Timothy Gordon said "low insults from [Spadaro] constitute high praise," and, alluding to the Democrat candidate‘s pro-abortion stance, asked whether Spadaro preferred "American infanticidist Hillary Clinton" to Trump.

Meanwhile, Spadaro confirmed to US Jesuit magazine America that the damning article he co-wrote had been "read and approved by the Secretariat of State," the most important institution in the Vatican bureaucracy.

Francis and Trump hold radically different views on key issues such as climate change, capitalism and migration. In 2016, the pope called Trump‘s plan to build a wall on the Mexico border "not Christian," a comment the then Republican candidate dismissed as "disgraceful."

But in May, the Vatican said the two leaders had a "cordial" meeting and expressed a "joint commitment in favour of life, freedom of worship and conscience," indicating they found at least some common ground on the need to oppose abortion and defend religious freedom.

 

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