(Crux) A recent blockbuster article by two close friends of Pope Francis asserting there’s an “ecumenism of hate” in the United States, aligning fundamentalist Evangelicals with “Catholic integralists,” continues to kick up dust. Critics are deriding its grasp of American realities, while defenders insist it names an ugly truth that needs to be confronted.
Adding fuel to the fire, many people have assumed that because the authors are close to the pontiff, at least in some big-picture sense the article must reflect Francis’s own views.
To discuss the issues raised in the article by Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro and Argentinian Protestant Marcelo Figueroa, this week “Crux of the Matter,” Crux’s weekly radio show on the Catholic Channel Sirius XM 129, which airs Mondays at 1 p.m. Eastern, invited two regular Crux contributors to weigh in:
Austen Ivereigh, a British Catholic intellectual and commentator and co-founder of Catholic Voices, who’s the author of a deeply approving biography of Pope Francis entitled The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope.
Thomas Williams, an American theologian and ethicist based in Rome, who also serves as the Rome bureau chief for Breitbart News.
Given those pedigrees, it may come as little surprise that Ivereigh and Williams had sharply contrasting views on the La Civiltà Cattolica article, with Williams describing its “bald statements” as “laughable by academic standards,” and Ivereigh insisting he’s “amazed” people seem to be missing the point, which is that the article’s core argument is “absolutely spot-on and irrefutable.”
The following is an excerpted transcript of the conversation between Ivereigh and Williams, which took place July 17. “Crux of the Matter” is co-hosted by Crux editor John Allen and co-editor and Vatican correspondent Inés San Martín. [More]