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Reflections on the La Civiltà Cattolica Essay

July 13, 2017

This La Civiltà Cattolica essay is an important denunciation and refutation of American-style Evangelical Catholicism. I have three thoughts, or reactions, that I’m sorting out:

1. I now feel entirely justified in rejecting, during the early part of the last decade, the theopolitical outlook of my “Evangelical Catholic” friends. I lost most of those friends in the 2003-08 period, and have never really looked back.

2. The author could have made more of the politics of abortion in this piece. The are many ways to approach the issue of “abortion minimization,” but Evangelical Catholics and some conservative Evangelicals believe in only one approach: abolition now, by all means, above all else. This issue explains, in part, why I lost some of the friends mentioned above. Their continued emphasis on a so-called “abortion holocaust” as a preventable disaster, by legal means alone, has distorted the political landscape immensely.

3. I’m not sure the term “Integralism” fits in the American context, no matter how hard some theologians or Evangelical Catholics might like it as a theological descriptor. Evangelical Catholics are less an “organic entity” than an astroturfed creation of First Things supporters, and they most certainly do not support trade union groups. That said, I’m not 100 percent sure of the best term aside from integralism.

Otherwise, in the piece, I love the emphasis on a peace-loving and seeking faith over a Billy Sunday-esque “fighting faith.” And the author was right to refute the Prosperity Gospel temptation that lurks for Evangelical Catholics. – TL

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