Pope Francis meets United States President  Donald Trump at the Apostolic Palace on May 24, 2017 in Vatican City, Vatican. (Photo by Vatican Pool/Getty Images)
Pope Francis meets United States President Donald Trump at the Apostolic Palace on May 24, 2017 in Vatican City, Vatican. (Photo by Vatican Pool/Getty Images)

Evangelical advisers of President Trump have requested a meeting with Pope Francis to quell criticism from Vatican allies over the political direction of American Catholics.

The dispute began when a Catholic and a Presbyterian leader close to the pontiff accused conservative American Catholics of forming a Christian alliance of “hate” with evangelical fundamentalists when they support Trump.

In July, a prominent Jesuit journal published with the Vatican’s approval criticized conservative U.S. Catholics for joining what it described as the political radicalization of conservative evangelicals.

The authors of the article accuse the groups of seeking a politically expedient alliance to promote a “nostalgic dream of a theocratic type of state” and a “xenophobic and Islamophobic vision that wants walls.” One of the co-authors, Antonio Spadaro, the editor of La Civiltà Cattolica and a person who is close to Pope Francis, has said that the Vatican’s Secretariat of State read and approved the piece.

Johnnie Moore, an evangelical advisor to Trump and a board member of the National Association of Evangelicals, sent a letter to Pope Francis requesting the meeting on behalf of some U.S. evangelical leaders, including those close to the president. He sent the request to the Archdiocese of Washington and other intermediaries on Aug. 3.

“Rather than being offended, we have chosen to attempt to make peace,” Moore says. “We would be willing to get on a plane tomorrow to Rome to meet with whoever, whenever to create a space for dialogue instead of conflict.”

Moore acts as an unofficial spokesperson for Trump’s circle of evangelical advisors. The group includes Trump’s longtime spiritual advisor, Florida televangelist Paula White; Baptist pastor Jack Graham; president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference Samuel Rodriguez Jr.; president of the American Association of Christian Counselors Tim Clinton; and past president of the Southern Baptist Convention Ronnie Floyd.

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SOURCE: Elizabeth Dias 
TIME

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