John L. Allen Jr.: Agree or not, it’s good to know what Vatican insiders think of America

(Crux) On Thursday, the Jesuit-run journal La Civiltà Cattolica, which is reviewed by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State prior to publication, carried an article by two close friends of Pope Francis arguing that a “Manichean vision” underlies a “a strange form of surprising ecumenism … between Evangelical fundamentalists and Catholic Integralists” in the United States.

(“Manichean” refers to an ancient Persian religion that believed in a cosmic battle between light and dark, good and evil, and is used now to mean black-and-white thinking.)

By “Catholic Integralism,” the article appeared to have in mind, at least in part, Catholic support for U.S. President Donald Trump. It cited Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who’s a Catholic, suggesting he’s a “supporter of an apocalyptic geopolitics.”

Given the hyper-polarized nature of today’s America, immediate reaction here mostly broke down along pro- or anti-Trump lines … if you’re inclined to give the president a break, you probably hated the article, and vice-versa.

Apart from its political significance, however, I’ll offer four longer-term notes about why the article matters. [More]