Villanova professor criticizes Amy Coney Barrett for her faith

The professor is concerned if her membership to a Christian group will impede her decision making as a justice.

A Villanova professor wrote an op-ed for Politico that criticized Amy Coney Barret based on her faith.

A theology professor at Villanova University is critical of Supreme Court Justice nominee Amy Coney Barret’s Catholic faith, asserting that the Senate Judiciary Committee would have been right to question her on these grounds. 

Massimo Faggioli argued in an op-ed for Politico, that “the Senate Judiciary Committee should be prepared to ask to examine any covenant—a solemn contract binding before God—that she signed in the course of becoming a full member of People of Praise.” Moreover, he asserted that “doing so will protect, not erode, America’s foundational value of religious liberty.”

Faggioli declares that “Amy Coney Barrett is not Catholic like John F. Kennedy was Catholic or Joe Biden or Paul Ryan or the late Antonin Scalia was Catholic,” but rather some sort of fringe Catholic that “has made solemn promises that go far beyond the baptismal promises every Catholic makes.” 

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Of chief concern to Faggioli is Barret’s involvement with the People of Praise Christian Community. 

According to its website, People of Praise is a self-described “ charismatic Christian community” that binds together all divisions within Christianity, including “Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Methodists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians and other denominational and nondenominational Christians.”

Activities include prayer meetings, reading Scripture together, sharing meals, supporting each other financially and spiritually, and living in “harmony with God and with all people.”

Faggioli sees Barrett’s membership in this group as problematic. He worries of “tension between forthrightly serving as one of the final interpreters of the Constitution and swearing an oath to an organization that lacks transparency and visible structures of authority that are accountable to their members, to the Roman Catholic Church and to the wider public.” 

He then goes on to list alleged destructive behaviors of members of such organizations including a "cult"-like control of “members’ life decisions, including career choices and whom to marry” and the destruction of members’ “spiritual and intellectual freedom.”

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As a justice on the Supreme Court, Faggioli is concerned about  “Barrett’s independence as a judge” given her connections to those affiliated with People of Praise,  questioning “To whom has Barrett made a vow of obedience? What is its nature and scope?”

Faggioli concluded by urging scrutiny of Barret’s faith which includes how her faith commitments “could affect or supersede an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Campus Reform reached out to both People of Praise and Faggioli for comment but did not receive responses in time for publication. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @CWTremo