Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Bannon Link: Using Trump Playbook to Attack Pope Francis

Yesterday, I wrote,

Benedict's poisonous letter; Cardinal Sarah's toxic bile: these are part and parcel of a bigger initiative, coordinated and heavily funded by right-wing Catholic money, especially in the U.S., to Trumpize the Catholic church. Bannon is at the very center of this.

I also featured a tweet by Richard Engel of NBC News announcing that NBC is going to do a report on Bannon tomorrow (Sunday, 14 April) with the following focus:

Steve Bannon is on a new crusade to reform the Vatican. Critics say he, and a movement, are using the same playbook that helped President Trump into the White House against @Pontifex.

Now today, the digital edition of The Guardian has been featuring all day long as its lead article a report by Mark Townsend with the title "Steve Bannon 'told Italy's populist leader: Pope Francis is the enemy.'" Townsend writes, 

Donald Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon advised Italy's interior minister Matteo Salvini to attack the pope over the issue of migration, according to sources close to the Italian far right. 
During a meeting in Washington in April 2016, Bannon – who would within a few months take up his role as head of Trump's presidential campaign – suggested the leader of Italy's anti-immigration League party should start openly targeting Pope Francis, who has made the plight of refugees a cornerstone of his papacy. 
"Bannon advised Salvini himself that the actual pope is a sort of enemy. He suggested for sure to attack, frontally," said a senior League insider with knowledge of the meeting in an interview with the website SourceMaterial.

 Townsend also notes, 

Bannon has steadily been building opposition to Francis through his Dignitatis Humanae Institute, based in a 13th-century mountaintop monastery not far from Rome. 
In January 2017, Bannon became a patron of the institute, whose honorary president is Cardinal Raymond Burke, an ultra-conservative who believes organised networks of homosexuals are spreading a "gay agenda" in the Vatican.

In a statement entitled "In the Dark Times," Josh Marshall wrote yesterday,

Over the last three weeks a series of events have taken place which may seem individual but need to be viewed in a joined context. Together they've put us in a much different, darker place as a country. 

Yes. And I want to propose that we would be short-sighted if we did not see that, at this same dark time in American political life, the circle around Ratzinger has gone on the attack in the Catholic church — as if emboldened by Trump's recent "victories" (notably, with the handling of the Mueller report) that are propelling the darkness in the U.S. now and emboldening Trump and his allies around the world.

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