An issue of the Italian journal La Civilta Cattolica is seen at the Vatican in this 2013 file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- When an influential Jesuit-run journal criticized U.S. politics in mid-July, it was not the first time it had caused controversy in the United States.
Stirring up controversy is nothing new for La Civilta Cattolica, which sees defending the faith as part of its mission.
Over the years, it has written articles calling professional boxing "attempted murder"; labeling distracted or impaired driving a sin that should be confessed; praising the powers of Harry Potter in getting kids to read; recommending anger management training for priests and religious; advocating Western governments regulate mosque construction; and condemning states for profiting from cigarette sales.
It also made some fur fly when it criticized animal rights movements that ignore the unique dignity and superiority of human beings over animals. It noted the hypocrisy of insisting on basic rights to life for animals but not for the disabled, sick or young children. The editorial asked if all animals have an equal right to exist, then wouldn't humans have to be responsible for protecting some species from others and "spend our entire lives keeping the cats away from the mice?''