.- The renowned Vatican watcher Sandro Magister analyzes the growing debate among Catholic Italians regarding which Protestant denomonitations should be accepted in his weekly article published by LâEspresso Online.
According to Magister, the debate has been fueled by a study commissioned by the Waldensian Churchâone of the oldest Protestant denominations in Italyâwhich reveals discrepancies between Catholics regarding how they view different Protestant denominations.
A study commissioned by the Waldensian Church and made public on May 6 certifies that Italians appreciate Protestantism for its âsocial commitment,â âsolidarity,â and âmoral rigor,â apart from a âbetter knowledge of the sacred textsâ and âbehavior more consistent with their faith.â
The study reveals that Italians are very ignorant of the Evangelical worldâmost of them think, for example, that President Bush is Catholicâand they âappreciate Protestantism for its âsocial commitment,â âsolidarity,â and âmoral rigor,â apart from a âbetter knowledge of the sacred textsâ and âbehavior more consistent with their faithâ.â
Magister writes that among Catholic intellectuals, there is a greater willingness to dialogue with âtraditionalâ Protestant denominations (Lutherans, Anglicans, Waldensians), but there is hostility towards those Evangelicals considered to be âfundamentalist.â
Nevertheless, says Magister, this double standard among Catholic intellectuals has been energetically criticized by Waldensian Pastor Giorgio Bouchard, who says that Pentecostal movements defined as âfundamentalistâ ârepresent a new and legitimate interpretation of Christian pietyâ in an age âinfested by the worst kind of moral relativism and by a suffocating materialism.â
According to Magister, Bouchard calls on intellectuals, whether they are Catholic or not, to renounce the old prejudice that every Evangelical movement that comes from the US is a plot by the CIA.
Magisterâs complete essay can be found here: