A note on the ‘ecumenism of hate’ and papal rhetoric


Crux, 31 July 2017

Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro and Reverend Marcelo Figueroa caused controversy by using the expression “ecumenism of hate” in a La Civiltà Cattolica article to describe the relations between Catholics and Evangelicals in the United States. It’s not fair to criticize Spadaro/Figueroa for inflammatory rhetoric without conceding that it is of a piece with the pontifical style which they are proposing as a model for Christian engagement. And it would be dismissive to consider that style to be just loose talk, without a pastoral purpose.

There have been an abundance of responses to the “ecumenism of hate” essay by Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro and Reverend Marcelo Figueroa in La Civiltà Cattolica, including an exchange on Crux between Austen Ivereigh and Thomas Williams.

Having already had my say on the shortcomings of the Spadaro/Figueroa analysis - and several others more thoroughly dismantling the argument - I would add a remark on the style, rather than the substance, of the essay, as it speaks to a defining characteristic of the pontificate of Pope Francis.

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