Recently a great many Catholics in America who call themselves conservatives seem to be upset about an article written in Civilta Cattolica. I have seen the article called, variously; ‘intemperate’; ‘anti-American’; ‘ignorant’; ‘confused’; ‘disturbing’; ‘weird’; ‘strange’; ‘harsh’; ‘bitter’; ‘blistering’;, and ‘anti-Catholic’.
What I found most interesting about the various responses and critiques was not one of the 14 articles I read penned by an American held a link to the original article. If they did have any links, it was to other hostile reviews, never to the source of the upset.
Not being the sort to just jump in, I made sure to track down and read the original article. It is obvious that there are a few translation issues into English, but I will try to summarize the points of the original:
- There is a tendency amongst American Evangelical Protestants to divide politics into a ‘pure good’ vs. ‘pure evil’ outlook that avoids both nuance and recognizing that even the side you support is limited and flawed
- American Evangelical Protestants tend to see America as akin to the biblical ‘Promised Land’ as if the nation held some religious significance and to believe that America’s power and wealth are divinely granted in a unique way
- Evangelical Protestants tend to see secular politics as a religious war; this attitude of ‘politics is war’ as led to a hostile attitude that seeks out conflict rather than rapprochement
- A Protestant Millenialist worldview improperly focuses on the Last Judgement; this causes strife, conflict, even natural disaster and violence, to be seen as good because it leads towards the apocalypse and Last Judgement
- The Protestant conceptualization of Church and State is more akin to Islamic concepts than truly Christian concepts
- Protestant ‘Prosperity Theology’ has had a strong impact on American culture and politics
- The Protestant idea of ‘religious liberty’ does not match the Catholic concept of religious liberty
- Catholicism is never nationalistic nor ethnic; the Church is universal
- Because of certain shared political concerns American Catholics have been cooperating with American Evangelical Protestants concerning politics
Finally, what seems to be upsetting American Conservative Catholics. The authors contend that because of the political association of American Catholics and Evangelical Protestants some of the errors of Protestantism they list are seeping into American Catholic thought, including a nationalistic worldview.
A great deal of what the authors state is true, if sometimes minor. But even minor errors must be addressed!