Two close allies of Pope Francis have attacked Steve Bannon, a senior strategist in the Trump administration who is Catholic, of being a "supporter of apocalyptic geopolitics" in an article criticising "evangelical fundamentalism" in the US.
Antonio Spadaro and Marcelo Figueroa, a Jesuit priest and Presbyterian pastor who are both close confidantes of the pope, wrote in Vatican newspaper La Civiltà Cattolica that "evangelical fundamentalists" in the US have adopted a twisted reading of the Old Testament that promotes conflict and war in the "conquering and defence of the 'promised land'".
They argue that proponents of this ideology allow themselves to be guided by this "decontextualised reading" of the Bible, rather than by "the incisive look, full of love, of Jesus in the Gospels".
"Within this narrative, whatever pushes toward conflict is not off limits. It does not take into account the bond between capital and profits and arms sales. Quite the opposite, often war itself is assimilated to the heroic conquests of the 'Lord of Hosts' of Gideon and David," the authors write.
Evangelical Christians share many of their beliefs about social issues such as abortion and gay marriage with Catholic voters in the US, the article continues.
The most "dangerous prospect" of these "shared objectives" the authors argue is "attributable to its xenophobic and Islamophobic vision that wants walls and purifying deportations", a clear reference to Trump's travel ban for six Muslim-majority countries and his election pledge to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.
The authors of the article also outlined how US presidents are in the habit of using "Manichean language that divides reality between absolute Good and absolute Evil" and how Trump's rhetoric focuses on "fighting against a generic collective entity of the 'bad' or even the 'very bad'".
President Donald Trump has never spoken publicly about his faith, but his rhetoric won him overwhelming support from evangelical white Christians in the 2016 election. Catholic voters also favoured Trump over his opponent Hillary Clinton, with 52% voting for the billionaire.
The article was published just days after US evangelical leaders met with Trump at the White House and blessed him in prayer following discussions about religious freedom, support for Israel and healthcare reform.
Trump held a private meeting with Pope Francis in May during his first overseas trip, a highly anticipated event given the pair's history of public disagreements on issues ranging from climate change to immigration. The Pope has publicly denounced several of the US president's policies in the past, including his promise to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.
"A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian," the Pope said during a visit to Mexico in 2016.
Trump described the Pope's comments as "disgraceful" and argued that "no leader, especially a religious leader, has the right to question another man's religion or faith."
During their meeting in May, the Pope reportedly offered Trump a copy of his main writings, including 'laudato si', his encyclical work on the environment which states his belief that climate change is largely man-made and must urgently be addressed.