On Faggioli’s feverish “Trump-Strickland-Barron” fantasy

(CatholicWorld Report. Larry Chapp).

Massimo Faggioli’s recent Commonweal essay is heavy on bombastic rhetoric and very light on data, arguments, and substance.

My friend, the journalist Christopher Altieri, says his least favorite form of writing is what he calls “ink on ink”. That is, a form of writing where one publication comments critically on something in a rival publication. I think Altieri’s instincts are sound but I am going to make an exception. Because every once in a while you read an opinion piece from a well-known public intellectual in a major publication that is so reckless you have to pause for a moment and ask yourself if what you are reading is satire.

Such was the case when I read a recent essay by Massimo Faggioli, professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova University, in Commonweal entitled “Will Trumpism Spare Catholicism?” Normally, I would not comment on such a poorly written essay, but this is in Commonweal, one of the oldest and most influential Catholic journals of opinion out there (and one I generally like). And the author has become one of the leading media voices in the American Church these days. There are also, as we shall see, issues at play that transcend the particular problems with this piece, which is why it is important to dissect its faults.

Continue reading …