Leading Jesuit Condemns Pro-Life Movement, Trump Voters and Conservatives

By John Zmirak Published on July 17, 2017

Yes, you read that headline right. Just such an editorial appeared last week in the Jesuit magazine La Civilta Cattolica. It might quickly be forgotten, except that the magazine has quasi-official status. Its contents need approval from the Holy See’s Secretariat of State. 

The piece was written in clunky, pseudo-intellectual rhetoric. One author was Rev. Antonio Spadoro, S.J. (In the past, he claimed that “faith” can make 2+2 equal 5.) The other was the Argentinian Mainline Protestant, Rev. Figueroa, whom Pope Francis for some reason chose to make editor of that country’s Vatican newspaper.  

Was This Written in North Korea?

The column offers variety. It contains the most boot-licking flattery to appear outside of North Korea in many years (aimed at Pope Francis). It spices that up with malicious and culpable falsehoods. There’s no way to prettify it. The column is a sustained effort of slander. Who were the targets? They were many:

  • The worldwide pro-life movement (the authors sneer at “values voters”)
  • Conservative U.S. Protestants
  • Patriotic citizens worried about Islamic colonization, terrorism, and sharia
  • Catholics who voted for Donald Trump
  • Catholics and Protestants who work together defend innocent life, the natural law, and religious liberty.

The piece is chock-full of outright errors, logical fallacies, and libels. I could spend 5,000 words unpacking them all. But let’s just cover the most cringeworthy.

Pro-Life and Pro-Family Voters Want Christian Sharia

For decades, pro-life and pro-family activists have battled the false charge that we are “theocrats.” Atheists, pro-abortion activists, gay activists and radical leftists have long thrown this accusation around. They claimed that any attempt to encode the natural law in civil law — by protecting unborn children, or natural marriage — amounts to Christian sharia. We have effectively fought back. How? By relying on the findings of natural reason, science, and legal theory to make our case. Now a Vatican magazine comes along to tell the atheists and abortionists that they were right.

The column lumps in all theologically conservative Protestants with hard line “fundamentalists.” It claims that the whole Christian Right is beholden to the views of a few obscure Calvinists. To people who wish to enshrine Old Testament law in the U.S. (That includes the death penalty for adulterers and disobedient children.) So the next pro-choice or anti-marriage politician can thank a high ranking Jesuit writing in an official venue for support.

Conservatives Are All Racists

The authors smoosh together resistance to “the black civil rights movement” with conservative Christians’ objections to a long list of other things. For instance, to theological Modernism, which hollows out the Bible. Also to “the hippy movement, communism, feminist movements.” Then the authors jump to the present day, and claim that the same bigotry now animates American Christians who are obsessed with “the migrants and the Muslims.”

There was plenty, of course, to criticize in the hedonistic “hippy movement,” in Communism and in feminism. (Not to mention broken borders that admit intolerant Muslims.) But Spadaro and his co-author slander millions of sincere Christians who agree with official Catholic teaching on each of these subjects. They equate such Christians’ views with the rejection of civil rights. This is the standard leftist tactic: vilify any conservative anywhere by accusing him of racism. I’d expect this kind of cheap smear from the Southern Poverty Leadership Center. Or some George Soros front group. Coming from Jesuit who has been called “the mouthpiece of Pope Francis,” it’s even more contemptible.

Oppose Socialism? Then You Hold the “Prosperity Gospel”

Then the authors attack any defense of a basically free market economy. How? Again, through the crassest sort of guilt-by-association. They show contempt for any Christian who holds (as Pope Leo XIII and most of his successors held) that private property is “sacred” and that the economy shouldn’t be crushed by bureaucracy or smothered by redistribution. … Or who thinks that America is uniquely blessed by God with freedom …

You know what those Christians really believe? According to Spadaro and Figueroa, they are fans of the “Prosperity Gospel.” That is, the small and widely ridiculed movement espoused by some late night TV preachers. It teaches that God magically rewards good Christians with material wealth.

The authors denounce Catholics who cooperate with Protestants to fight abortion, radical Islam, gay activism, or Marxism. We are examples, they say, of an “ecumenism of hate.”

The Stream: An Ecumenism of Hate

The authors denounce Catholics who cooperate with Protestants to fight abortion, radical Islam, gay activism, or Marxism. We are examples, they say, of an “ecumenism of hate.” I am proud to say that the specific line denounced in this piece, comparing the Trump/Clinton race to the contrast between Constantine and Diocletian, first appeared in one of my columns here at The Stream. I was disappointed, however, not to be condemned by name.

My Apology

As for the column’s attacks on the many good, faithful non-Catholic Christians. On friends of mine who have joined the fight for innocent life and religious freedom. … Let me apologize on behalf of a billion other Catholics. We are better than this. And so are you. We are on the same side in the war against the spirit of Antichrist, which walks abroad.



Stream Senior Editor John Zmirak is author, most recently, of  The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism.

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  • Hannah

    I know it’s telling of the times that we’re seeing this blasphemy within our own ranks, but even so, it still baffles me how arrogant/ignorant these church leaders are. They’ve erroneously mingled faith with politics and put more emphasis on the latter, a practice doomed to fail. I don’t cast a broad stroke on the Catholic Church and say that all who call themselves such believe what the Pope and his ilk proclaim; it does concern me, however, that one of the most prominent religions is being openly corrupted, and that there are still too many who support this.

    This just goes to show how important it is to actively practice discernment (as Spurgeon defines it: “knowing the difference between right and almost right”) as well as keeping our armor in good working order and our sword sharpened. Our enemies may have us surrounded, but in the end, we win. Our job now is to rally as many troops as possible and to sow the harvest so that He may reap it when the time is right.

  • SophieA

    When a Catholic such as Spadaro slanders Christians in agreement with official Catholic teaching, does this make him guilty of heresy? I truly do not know.

    • Zmirak

      In a loose sense, perhaps, but not in the formal, strict sense that we should probably stick to using when dealing with persnickety, legalistic sophists like these.

      • SophieA

        Ah, “persnickety legalistic sophists” is a perfect description. Relieved to keep the dreaded “h” word for formal instances. Thank you.

      • Memento Mori

        So would formal heresy be something like Amoris Leatitia or Nostra Aetate?

        • Zmirak

          That’s the right context for such charges, yes–formal doctrinal statements. Very few popes have expressed personal heresy over the centuries, but it has happened. Never in ex cathedra statements. We judge the orthodoxy of less authoritative statements–and hence, whether they form part of the Ordinary Magisterium or not–by their consistency with previous statements by popes and councils, going back to apostolic age. If there’s no consensus, or no dogmatic teaching at any point, the question remains unsettled. I’d say that’s true of religious liberty, slavery, usury, capital punishment.

    • Deplorable S E Delenda

      It certainly makes him worthy of contempt.

  • Seamrog

    Another great article.

  • Beth

    The mask is coming off. Good. Let it come.

    • mr. producer

      Perhaps God allowed someone like Bergoglio, so the deep rot in the Church would be exposed.

      • Beth

        I concur.

      • ArthurMcGowan

        Mao said, “Let a million flowers bloom” And then…

        But it will be for nought if the next Pope is not a Catholic who will lop off the heads of the “flowers” that bloomed under Bergoglio.

        Thousands of gay-affirmative, Pill-affirmative priests must be laicized. Hundreds of bishops must be deposed, even laicized.

        Every bishop who has permitted gay couples, adulterers, and abortionist politicians to receive Communion must be deposed. That would open up all but about ten American dioceses for a new bishop. A Catholic, that is.

        • Zmirak

          Excellent thought. How could such a pope be elected, barring something like a meteorite hitting the Conclave while a few African cardinals are held up due to bad weather…. But that’s a Broadway musical I’ve yet to write.

          • mr. producer

            We will ever get a musical version of The Grand Inquisitor?

          • Zmirak

            I’m holding out for Claymation or Legos. In 3D. Imax.

        • Catholic_Mom_of_6

          US Bishops are not the only ones in need of laicization. There may be only about ten dioceses in North America that will not need a new bishop.

  • Patmos

    “Let me apologize on behalf of a billion other Catholics. We are better
    than this. And so are you. We are on the same side in the war against
    the spirit of Antichrist, which walks abroad.”

    I’m with ya brutha. No need to apologize. The body of Christ transcends denomination.

    • Char B

      I disagree. As a conservative protestant, I teared up at the apology. We’re under attack in so many places. Thank you John.

  • Little Rose

    Keep exposing and praying for them.

    • Catholic_Mom_of_6

      Keep exposing and praying for them AND pray for protection against them.

  • jacobum

    Just more confirmation that the Bergoglianism Cabal masquerading as Catholic Clerics/Prelates are just part of the Lords chastisement. Even JZ at his most “tongue in cheek” moment could not conjure up the depravity of these most pitiful characters.

  • teach5

    Spadoro is not truly Catholic. He has a large following, as we are witnessing in parishes across America. The left has invaded every institution. It’s not surprising that it has well-placed infiltrators in the Vatican–including the Pope. We must keep exposing them and fighting this heresy.

    • kristinechristliebcanavan

      Spadaro may not be “orthodox” (small “o”) but he is indeed Catholic–a very highly placed and powerful Catholic. That’s the frightening part.

  • pearl87 ✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ

    Yes, the spirit of anti-Christ walks abroad, and also finds shelter and welcome in the Vatican.

  • Andrew Mason

    So to summarise, it’s a hatchet job by a member of the Far Left dressed up in religious language and relying on straw men. Don’t think you need to be Catholic to perceive the distinction.

  • kristinechristliebcanavan

    One group that WAS mentioned by name was Church Militant and its founder Michael Voris. Check out their website and coverage of Spadaro–who, by the way, in the mid 1990s wrote a book on kissing, can’t recall the entire title but part of it is “Heal Me with Your Mouth.” Can’t make this stuff up. Church Militant is HATED by the liberal Catholic crowd.

    • Zmirak

      A great apostolate. God bless Michael Voris.

  • jacobum

    The truth is that the Vatican is being run by a militant homosexual cabal.

  • Zeke Clinton

    This is our leadership? What a silly man.

  • It should not be overlooked that the language for partial birth in utero infanticide (wrongly termed “abortion”) on the books is nearly identical to what’s found in the Babylonian Talmud, the Jew’s book of religion.

    It should also be noted that, by the Jews’ own admission, Judaism is one and the same as the traditions of the elders so vehemently denounced by Christ in Matthew 15:6-9. The traditions of the elders were, circa 500 AD, codified into the Babylonian Talmud, the antithesis of nearly everything moral found in the Yahweh’s moral law codified in the Old Testament, and arguably the most anti-Christ piece of literature on the planet.

    It should also not be overlooked that, by their own admission, that nearly all of today’s Jews are not genetic Israelites, but simply proselytes to the religion of Judaism.

    For more, Google free online book “The Mystery of the Gentiles: Who Are They and Where Are They Now?”

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