Donald Trump's Evangelical Advisers Call for Meeting With Pope Francis Over Vatican Criticism

( [email protected] ) Aug 08, 2017 12:18 PM EDT
August 8, 2017: Donald Trump's evangelical advisors have called for a meeting with Pope Francis over increased criticism from the Vatican allies. These 'friends' of the Vatican question the American Catholics political direction.
Pope Francis with Donald Trump during a private audience at the Vatican. Reuters

Donald Trump's evangelical advisors have called for a meeting with Pope Francis over increased criticism from the Vatican allies. These "friends" of the Vatican question the American Catholics political direction.

The dispute started when a Presbyterian and Catholic leader allied to Pope Francis accused the American Catholics of forming "hate" groups with other evangelical fundamentalists once they support Trump.

Only last month, a senior Jesuit journal was published that questioned the move by U.S Catholics of joining these radicalized groups. The writers of the printed document accused the evangelical fundamentalists of looking for a political alliance aimed at creating a theocratic country with nostalgic dreams.

Antonio Spadaro, the editor, main-author of the article, and a close ally to the pope, added that the Vatican body had read and approved the document.

In response, Johnnie Moore, an evangelical advisor allied to Donald Trump, requested a meeting with the Pope through a formal written letter. 

Being a member of the National Association of Evangelists in the United States, he asked for the meeting on behalf of Evangelical leaders even those closely linked to the President. He also sent requests to the Archdiocese located in Washington as well as other associated groups on the third of August.

In his letter, Moore said that they choose not to be offended but rather seek peace. He stressed on the need for dialogue instead of conflict and concluded by saying that it's necessary they sit together and deliberate on these issues. He reiterated that even friends disagree and work together to devise an amicable and swift solution. 

''I am writing to request a meeting between Catholic and Evangelical leaders from the United States at a place and time of your choosing. Though, I'm hoping we can meet quickly," reads the letter, in part. 

"Your commitment to the poor and to pastoral ministry and your efforts to build bridges and to spread the doctrine of mercy around the world have been a light and hope to us all.

As you know more than most, all of this has also come at a time of historic Christian persecution in more places than perhaps at any time in Christian history. Together, Catholics, Orthodox, Protestant, and Evangelical Christians throughout the entire world have shared - as you've said - "an ecumenism of blood."

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.

I have to confess what prompted this request were articles published in the La Cattolica Civilitas recently and today in the New York Times.  

We would also like to use the time to meet with various other high level officials throughout the Vatican to find ways in which we can cooperate on matters of great concern to us all, especially as it relates to refugees, the poor and the persecuted.  

With all the respect in the world and with love for Christ's Church and every corner of it, I'll earnestly await your reply."

Many people consider Moore as the Evangelical spokesperson of Trump. Others include Paul White, a Florida Televangelist, Jack Graham the Baptist pastor, and the leader of the National Hispanic leadership conference of Christians.

The La Civilta Cattolica document is the newest indication of a rift between the President and the Pope. It accuses the Trump faithful Evangelists of misreading the Bible for their political gains. The article speaks against using anti-abortion and gay-marriages as tools of political mobilization and conflict.

They go against the Pope's message of total inclusion in the more conservative religious societies in the United States. They add that Pope Francis intends to break the link between culture, institution, politics, and church.

The tension between the Pope and the President of the "free world" has been announced from the beginning. Good examples are on matters touching on environmental policy and migration. Pope Francis stated that it was unholy to construct a wall to keep out migrants. Such contradicted one of the main policy agendas of Trump who questioned the rise of "demagogic" populism across the globe.

Just last week, a group of Catholic Bishops opposed a move by the White House meant to create a merit- associated immigration process. In recent years, the leadership of Pope Francis has enhanced Catholic involvement in American Politics as Rome favored a Democratic agenda over that of the Republicans.

Despite their differences, President Trump and Pope Francis both share common agendas; earlier this year, they both supported Charlie Gard, a terminally ill British infant who got wide attention from social activists and conservatives.

They also prioritize abortion, the protection of Christians in the Middle East and other regions with large numbers of Muslims. 

Additionally, they both take same stands when it comes to the fight against global warming. Interestingly, Ivanka Trump, the First Daughter, promoted this message during her visit to the Vatican some time ago.

Tags : Donald Trump, Pope Francis, Vatican, evangelical meeting