Steve Bannon and U.S. ultra-conservatives take aim at Pope Francis – NBC News


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By Richard Engel and Kennett Werner

VATICAN CITY — Strolling through St. Peter’s Square, the heart of the Roman Catholic Church, Steve Bannon surveyed the enemy camp.

The populist political consultant has a new target in his crusade against “globalism” — Pope Francis.

“He’s the administrator of the church, and he’s also a politician,” said Bannon, a former adviser to President Donald Trump. “This is the problem. … He’s constantly putting all the faults in the world on the populist nationalist movement.”

More on ‘NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt’ tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET

Since becoming pope in 2013, Francis has expressed a consistent message on the type of “America First” nationalism championed by Bannon.

Two years ago, the pope cautioned against growing populism in Europe, warning it could lead to the election of leaders like Hitler.

He has called for compassion toward migrants, saying that fearing them “makes us crazy,” as well as other marginalized groups including the poor and gay people. He has also defended diversity.

Bannon alleges that Francis has mismanaged numerous sex abuse scandals roiling the church, and says the pope is not treating the issue seriously enough.



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