Two church leaders close to Pope Francis wrote an article on the Civilta' Cattolica claiming that American Evangelicals as well as hardline Catholics hold worldviews "not too far apart" from that of militants.
The article takes an even wider political stance when it accuses American Christians of backing U.S. President Donald Trump, with whom the pope has had staunch disagreements regarding mass immigration to the Western world. The pope has also criticized Trump's pledges to build a wall on the southern U.S. border with Mexico so as to prevent illegal immigration, which has already gone down more than 70 percent since he was elected on Nov. 8.
Some U.S. Catholics have reacted scornfully. "As far as I am aware, American self-described fundamentalists are not destroying 2,000-year-old architectural treasures, decapitating Muslims, crucifying Middle Eastern Christians, promoting vile anti-Semitic literature, or slaughtering octogenarian French priests," Samuel Gregg from the Acton Institute wrote in the Catholic World Report.
Vatican experts such as Nello Scavo, author of four books on the current pope, doubt that the pope was not aware of the article, or that he opposes it.
"I doubt very much that Francis wasn't aware of this article – or that he doesn't approve of it. He's very close to both of the authors. And he's had three weeks to criticize it if he'd wanted to," he said.
Tim Stanley said in the Catholic Herald: "It makes sweeping generalizations that are untrue. Not all evangelicals are fundamentalists, for instance, and not all evangelical fundamentalists are right-wing activists."