Is “the” Evangelical-Catholic Alliance on Moral Issues Coming Apart?

RJN-Weigel-Novak

Richard John Neuhaus, George Weigel, and Michael Novak were some of the important Catholic architects of “Evangelicals & Catholics Together”

National Public Radio religion reporter Tom Gjelten seems to think so.  Here is a taste of his report:

…their shared opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage, and their common interest in parochial schools, brought them together. In 1994, with a “Catholics & Evangelicals Together” manifesto, leaders of the two faith groups announced they could collaborate as co-belligerents, allied on some issues while disagreeing on others.

That alliance, however, is again coming under strain, in part over their different reactions to the Trump administration’s policy priorities.

Some prominent Catholic leaders worry the country is becoming increasingly divided.

“America has lost her way,” said Archbishop José Gomez, whose Los Angeles archdiocese is the largest in the country. “We no longer know who we are or what our national purpose is,” he said, in a commencement address at the Catholic University of America.

Read the rest here.

Gjelton may be correct, but by comparing the Catholics who signed the 1994 “Catholics & Evangelicals Together” manifesto with Pope Francis or Archbishop Gomez is something akin to comparing apples and oranges.

The Catholics who signed Catholics & Evangelicals Together were conservative Catholics.  Today these Catholics (or at least the ones who are still alive) represent some of the strongest critics of Pope Francis.  Moreover, the evangelical signers of Catholics & Evangelical Together were mostly conservative evangelicals.

So in order to truly evaluate whether Catholics & Evangelicals Together is falling apart in the age of Trump one must compare conservative Catholics and Evangelicals in the 1990s with conservative Catholics and Evangelicals today.  Such a comparison might lead one to conclude that the alliance is stronger than Gjelten’s piece suggests.

Of course there have also been Catholic-Evangelical alliances between more moderate and progressive Catholics and Evangelicals.  I participated in one of them.