World Report

Trump team demand papal talks in ‘hate’ article row

One of US President Donald Trump’s leading Evangelical advisors has asked to meet Pope Francis to discuss a controversial article in a Vatican-approved Italian journal which sharply criticised some trends in Catholic-Evangelical relations.

An article in La Civiltà Cattolica last month expressed the view that some American Catholics and Evangelicals are forming a political alliance of “hate”.

Johnnie Moore, a member of Trump’s advisory board wrote a letter to the Pontiff requesting a meeting with Evangelical leaders after the article was published. It purported that there was a “strange ecumenism” made up of fundamentalist Catholics in the US.

The article said that this has led to a “Manichean vision” which simplifies moral actions between a simplistic good and evil.

Mr Moore’s letter reads: “It’s in this moment of ongoing persecution, political division and global conflict that we have also witnessed efforts to divide Catholics and Evangelicals. 

“We think it would be of great benefit to sit together and to discuss these things. Then, when we disagree we can do it within the context of friendship. “Though, I’m sure we will find once again that we agree far more than we disagree, and we can work together with diligence on those areas of agreement.”

The article was published by two of Pope Francis’ close advisors in the Jesuit-run journal which is reviewed by the Vatican’s secretariat of State before publication.

The article found that an alliance between some American Catholics and Evangelicals promote a “xenophobic and Islamophobic vision that wants walls and purifying deportations”.

The article said that Steve Bannon, an advisor to Trump, was a “supporter of an apocalyptic geopolitics”.

Mr Moore is quoted in The Washington Post saying he was surprised the article was published.

He described it as “incendiary”. This comes as relations between the Pope and Donald Trump remain on shakey ground, particularly after his decision to leave the Paris climate change agreement and his hard line stance on immigration.