Antonio Spadaro

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Antonio Spadaro
Antonio Spadaro in 2011.
Born (1966-07-06) July 6, 1966 (age 52)
Messina, Sicily, Italy
Nationality Italian
Education University of Messina
Pontifical Gregorian University
Occupation Official of the Holy See and Vatican City State
Organization Society of Jesus
Title Editor of La Civiltà Cattolica
Term 1 October 2011 — present
Predecessor Gianpaolo Salvini
Successor incumbent

Antonio Spadaro (born 6 July 1966) is an Italian Jesuit priest, journalist and writer. He has been the editor in chief of the Jesuit-affiliated journal La Civiltà Cattolica since 2011. He is also a consultor to both the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Secretariat for Communications (previously known as the Pontifical Council for Social Communications). He is described as being very close to Pope Francis, who is also a Jesuit.[1][2]

Background and Jesuits[edit]

Spadaro was born in Messina, Sicily on 6 July 1966. After graduating in philosophy from the University of Messina in 1988, Spadaro joined the novitiate of the Society of Jesus. He taught in Rome for two years from 1991 to 1993. On 21 December 1996, he was raised to the priesthood and on 24 May 2007 he made the solemn vows to the Society of Jesus. He obtained a license in Fundamental Theology, a degree in Social Communications, a PhD in Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome. He completed his education in the United States, in the Jesuit province of Chicago, from 2002 to 2003.

In 1994 he started writing for the Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica and since 1998 he became a member of the editorial board. He deals mainly with literature theory and literary criticism, especially related to contemporary Italian authors (including Cesare Pavese, Alda Merini, Giorgio Bassani, Mario Luzi, Pier Vittorio Tondelli) and American writers (from classics such as Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Flannery O'Connor and Jack London to contemporaries like Jack Kerouac, Raymond Carver). Among the subjects he deals with are music (Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Nick Drake, Nick Cave), contemporary art (Mark Rothko, Edward Hopper, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat), new communication technologies and their impact on lifestyle and thinking (especially on Wikipedia, Second Life, digital reading, various social media networks, Hacker philosophy and Cybertheology).

In 1998 he founded BombaCarta, a cultural project that coordinates creative writing, video production and reading on the internet as well. Since 2002 he has been teaching at the Interdisciplinary Center for Social Communication (CICS) of the Jesuit-affiliated Pontifical Gregorian University. At this university, since 2008, he has been the head of the scientific committee "The challenge and the experience", which brings together teachers and managers interested in the themes of spirituality and innovation. From 2004 to 2009 he has been coordinating the cultural activities of the Society of Jesus in Italy.

La Civiltà Cattolica[edit]

Antonio Spadaro in 2011 in front of a complete bookshelf of past editions of La Civiltà Cattolica.

Spadaro has long been associated with the journal La Civiltà Cattolica, which, although controlled by the Jesuits, is considered the nearest to an officially sanctioned journal of the Vatican City. Spadaro was appointed as the editor in chief of the journal on 6 September 2011. The first issue of the journal under the new editor was published on 1 October 2011. His networking activity is linked, in addition to his presence on social media networks, to the administration of a personal website and two blogs: one dedicated to CyberTeology and one dedicated to US writer Flannery O'Connor.

On 10 December 2011, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him the consultant of the Pontifical Council for Culture and on 29 December 2011, also a consultant to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. In January 2012 he received the "Le Buone Notizie - Civitas Casertana" prize in Caserta. In August 2013 he met several times with Pope Francis on behalf of La Civiltà Cattolica and fifteen other editors of Jesuit journal.

Vatican City—United States relations[edit]

In July 2017 Spadaro co-wrote, a controversial article entitled “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism" in which he and Argentine Presbyterian Marcelo Figueroa made political statements attacking the supporters of United States president Donald Trump. The article was approved by the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and published in the Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica.[3] Sparado and Figueroa described American political life as Manichaean and said the Trump administration was responsible for promoting an “apocalyptic geopolitics”, comparing American conservative Christians to ISIS.[4][5] Spadaro took aim at American Catholics who supported the conservative movement and Trump in particular. Spadaro published an article in which he criticized Trump advisor Steve Bannon for his ideological ties to Calvinist theologian Rousas John Rushdoony in spite of his Catholic faith.[2] He also singled out for "shocking rhetoric." Spadaro said that American Catholics and Protestants both promoted an "ecumenism of conflict" over abortion, same-sex marriage, and religious education in schools that also included a "xenophobic and Islamophobic vision", transforming it into an intolerant "ecumenism of hate."[6] The article also criticized conservatives for being uncritical of militarism, capitalism and the arms industry and for disregarding the environment.[1]

While praised by liberal publications such as the National Catholic Reporter[7] and Commonweal,[8] Spadaro's article received criticism in conservative outlets including Breitbart News,[9] The Catholic World Report,[10] National Catholic Register,[11] The Catholic Herald,[12],[13] The American Catholic,[14] LifeSiteNews,[15] The Catholic Thing[16] and itself.[17] P.J. Smith wrote in First Things, "Indeed, the liberal atomization that Spadaro and Figueroa want to exalt is one of the central problems with modernity that Francis dissects brilliantly in Laudato si’. Francis teaches us in that encyclical that 'it cannot be emphasized enough how everything is interconnected.'”[18] The Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles J. Chaput, described the article as "an exercise in dumbing down" and accused Spadaro and Figueroa of being "willfully ignorant" of the battle faced by American Catholics and Evangelical Protestants.[19] Archbishop Chaput said, "So it’s an especially odd kind of surprise when believers are attacked by their co-religionists merely for fighting for what their Churches have always held to be true."[20][21]


  1. ^ a b "A papal confidant triggers a furore among American Catholics". The Economist. 20 July 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Politi, James (July 13, 2017). "Papal allies attack Bannon's 'apocalyptic' vision". Financial Times. Retrieved July 14, 2017. 
  3. ^ O'Connell, Gerald (July 14, 2017). "Exclusive interview: Antonio Spadaro on his article about 'The Ecumenism of Hate' in the U.S." America Magazine. Retrieved July 15, 2017. 
  4. ^ Kentish, Ben (July 14, 2017). "Pope Francis allies accuse Donald Trump's team of 'apocalyptic geopolitics' similar to Isis". The Independent. Retrieved July 15, 2017. 
  5. ^ Kirchgaessner, Stephanie (July 14, 2017). "Pope Francis allies accuse Trump White House of 'apocalyptic geopolitics'". The Guardian. Retrieved July 15, 2017. 
  6. ^ Spadaro, Antonio (June 2017). "Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A surprising ecumenism". La Civiltà Cattolica. Retrieved July 15, 2017. 
  7. ^ Winters, Michael Sean (14 July 2017). "The Civilta article: FINALLY!". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved July 15, 2017. 
  8. ^ Faggioli, Massimo (18 July 2017). "Why Should We Read Spadaro on 'Catholic Integralism'?". Commonweal Magazine. Retrieved July 18, 2017. 
  9. ^ Williams, Thomas D (14 July 2017). "Papal Adviser Bashes American Christians in Bigoted Screed". Retrieved July 15, 2017. 
  10. ^ Gregg, Samuel (14 July 2017). "On that strange, disturbing, and anti-American "Civiltà Cattolica" article". Catholic World Report. Retrieved July 15, 2017. 
  11. ^ Reno, R. R. (20 July 2017). "Vatican Journal Jousts Against Imaginary 'Ecumenism of Hate' in America". National Catholic Register. Retrieved July 20, 2017. 
  12. ^ Stanley, Tim (16 July 2017). "Why is Civiltà Cattolica attacking American Christians? I have a theory". The Catholic Herald. Retrieved July 19, 2017. 
  13. ^ Lawler, Phil (14 July 2017). "An ignorant, intemperate Vatican assault on American conservatism". Retrieved July 15, 2017. 
  14. ^ McClarey, Donald R (14 July 2017). "The Pope Hates US". The American Catholic. Retrieved July 15, 2017. 
  15. ^ Baklinski, Pete (14 July 2017). "Vatican-reviewed magazine accuses Catholics of 'hate' for supporting Trump". LifeSiteNews. Retrieved July 15, 2017. 
  16. ^ Royal, Robert (17 July 2017). "Are Americans from Mars?". The Catholic Thing. Retrieved July 17, 2017. 
  17. ^ Niles, Christine (14 July 2017). "Vatican Advisor Attacks Church Militant". Church Militant. Retrieved July 15, 2017. 
  18. ^ Spadaro Contra Franciscum, First Things, 19 July 2017
  19. ^ "Archbishop Chaput: Civiltà Cattolica article was an 'exercise in dumbing down'". Catholic Herald. 19 July 2017. Retrieved July 19, 2017. 
  20. ^ "Archbishop Chaput: Civilta Cattolica got American Christianity wrong". Catholic News Agency. 19 July 2017. Retrieved July 19, 2017. 
  21. ^ "A papal confidante triggers a furore among American Catholics". The Economist. 19 July 2017. Retrieved July 19, 2017. 

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