The phrase “catholics against themselves” was first coined by the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, St Paul VI, to describe the practice of opposing or rejecting one’s own spiritual practice, often based on a belief in the existence of a higher power.
The phrase became popularised by the Catholic Church, but it was first used by Anglican bishops to describe a belief that the supernatural was always with us.
Now, however, the phrase is being applied to a new religious movement: the catholic nationalism movement, which is a response to the rise of anti-Christian and anti-religious nationalism in Western countries.
The movement has its origins in the Catholic world, but has been spreading throughout the Catholic diaspora since the 1970s.
Anglican theologian and scholar of the Anglicans, Peter Saunders, has written extensively on the movement, calling it “an extreme, fundamentalist form of nationalism that is based on an ancient Christian faith”.
Mr Saunders argues that this nationalism, which takes its name from the Latin word cathus, means “belief in God”.
The term catholic nationalist, like other such movements, has gained support in recent years from a growing number of evangelical Christian leaders, including former US President George W Bush, who have publicly expressed their support.
But it is not all evangelical Christians.
“The most prominent evangelical Christian figure in the US today, televangelist Pat Robertson, has been a vociferous supporter of the movement,” says Mr Saunders.
“He’s been very outspoken in calling for a ‘catholically neutral’ America.”
Mr Robertson’s views have been widely shared by anti-cathodemocratic campaigners, including one organisation, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), which was founded by Mr Robertson.
The organisation has also been credited with influencing the formation of a US anti-immigration group called The American Conservative, which now advocates a “catheologically neutral America”.
In 2014, AFP was granted a permit by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to launch a billboard campaign to promote the idea that the United States is a “Christian nation”.
In a video for the campaign, Mr Robertson explained that “we need to get rid of all the barriers that separate us from the rest of the world”.
He told the ABC’s Four Corners program that the “Christian heritage is in America” and that the government should “put us all back together”.
“There’s a lot of anti‑Christianism in America,” he said.
They’re not Christians, but they’re Christians. “
There are some very strong religious people in this country who are quite intolerant of other religions and don’t understand the difference between what they’re saying and what Jesus said.”
They’re not Christians, but they’re Christians.
They’re just not being Christians.
And the reason is that they’re not being taught.
“When people who are born with this heritage are being persecuted, and they don’t get the same education as other people, they’re more susceptible to radicalism.”
The campaign has been met with scepticism by some in the evangelical Christian community.
The Australian Christian Lobby, a Christian lobby group that represents the interests of conservative Christians in the United Kingdom, said that the AFP campaign was “unfortunate and misguided”.
“This is an unfortunate and misguided attempt to spread fear and hate,” said the group’s executive director, Craig Laundy.
“In many ways, the AFP is trying to promote a dangerous, exclusionary Christian nationalism which undermines the fundamental Christian values of freedom of religion, belief, worship and conscience that are at the heart of the Australian way of life.”
The AFP campaign also prompted the Vatican to issue a warning that it was “deeply concerned” by the “dangerous ideology” of the AFP’s campaign, calling the campaign “dangerously anti-Catholic”.
“The Church of England and the Anglicanas [the Roman Catholic Church] are both members of the UN General Assembly and they are bound to respect the UN Charter,” said Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, the Vatican’s representative on the Human Rights Council.
“It is regrettable that a campaign like this, which uses religious, religious terminology, which has an element of violence and violence against other faiths, is being used to divide communities, to divide societies.”
Anglican leaders have also expressed their concerns over the AFP ad.
The Archbishop of Canterbury and other bishops have warned that the movement is not representative of the entire church.
“I would urge those who are anti-immigrant to consider how much work they need to do to integrate themselves into the community,” said Archbishop of York, Mark Haddon, in an interview with Radio National’s The Alan Jones Show.
“Because the anti-migrant movement is a reaction to an existing and ongoing religious division that is also