Shane Schaetzel a board member and webmaster of the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society has written a response to the La Civilta Cattolica article by Fr. Spadaro and Presbyterian Pastor Figueroa that closely reflects my experience of Evangelicals and Catholics working together from my perch in Canada.
It is hardly the “ecumenism of hate,” black and white “Manicheaism” like that of Islamist terrorists or ISIS-like “preparing the Apocalypse” the authors decry.
Like Shane, I am a former evangelical. As a journalist who has written for both evangelical and Catholic venues, I am well-acquainted with various communities within both and thus I found the critique by Fr. Spadaro and Figueroa woefully ignorant, trafficking in anti-Christian tropes commonly used by progressive political operatives to discredit opponents, and, dangerously marginalizing of an already marginalized group in the United States, the presence of representatives of some in Trump’s cabinet and inner circle notwithstanding.
Shane writes Spadaro and Figueroa are mistaken if they believe Catholics and Evangelicals voted *for* Donald Trump.
Let me make this crystal clear for anyone at the Vatican who might be reading this. Speaking as an American Catholic, down here in the trenches of the political battles unfolding in America, the one and only reason why Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election is because of Hillary Clinton. She is the reason why he is the president today. She is the reason why faithful Catholics and Evangelicals turned out en mass to vote for Donald Trump and the Republicans last November.
She is the reason why the Republicans are now the majority in the U.S. Congressional House and Senate, as well as the majority of the state legislatures and governors mansions around the nation. She, and she alone, is the one singular reason why things turned out the way they did. She was the candidate with a pro-abortion advocacy record unparalleled in American history. She was the candidate with her disdain for Evangelicals and faithful Catholics. She was the candidate with her “deep seated… religious beliefs… have to be changed” comment (see here) that scared the hell out of faithful Christians all across America.
I do not know any person who voted for Donald Trump, or a Canadian who would have voted for him, who was or is blind to the man’s obvious flaws.
Shane continues in writing about the growing bond between Catholics and Evangelicals that began in the 1980s.
Much of this current relationship came about in the 1980s and 90s, on the front lines of the American proverbial “culture wars,” particularly in the trenches of the Pro-Life Movement. Faithful Catholics and Evangelicals found themselves under fire together from hostile forces on the Secular and Pagan Left in America. (Yes, there is a “Pagan” Left in America. Just ask any Wiccan or New Ager.) We faithful Catholics watched the Left belittle and malign the very people we stood side-by-side with (Evangelicals) on the street corners of America during Pro-Life demonstrations. We all suffered the insults and profanities together by passing traffic. We all endured the egg throwing and garbage tossing by the same motorists passing by. Even our little children, who stood there with us, were subject to the same, asking “Mommy, why do they hate us so much?” Ours was an alliance forged in the crucible of soft persecution by the American Left, and we built strong relationships through it. Today, it can be said that many faithful Catholics in America feel a stronger kindred with local Evangelicals than we do with cafeteria Catholics in New York, Washington DC, Europe and yes, even the Vatican. Why? I think the Spadaro/Figueroa article speaks for itself on that. Too many of our fellow Catholics are too clueless, or too snobbish, to understand what it’s like to have raw eggs, garbage and profanities thrown at you and your small children, while you stand side-by-side with Evangelicals having the same things thrown at them, in our public proclamation of the Gospel of Life.
It was during this time that a group of prominent Evangelicals and Catholics produced a statement pledging our support for one another in the midst of this cultural upheaval. The document itself was a major source of division between Evangelicals and Fundamentalists, accelerating the rift between them, but it forged a deeper relationship with Catholics and Evangelicals on the front-lines of the battle with the Secular and Pagan Left. The name of the document is Evangelicals and Catholics Together: the Christian Mission in the Third Millennium. It’s a document that every Catholic and Evangelical should read and share with others.
Amen! Amen and Amen!
I have to testify to the positive impact Catholics and Evangelicals Together had on me, as well as that of First Things Magazine, edited by the late Fr. Richard Neuhaus, the Catholic co-author with Evangelical Charles Colson of that document.
First Things introduced me to serious thinking about the role of faith in the public square. It’s also where I first encountered writing by Cardinal Pell and others that made me reconsider my dismissal of the Catholic Church as not much different from mainline Protestantism except for statues of Mary.