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Catholics hardliners regard Pope as a ‘dangerous reformer’

Catholics hardliners regard Pope as a ‘dangerous reformer’

Increasing numbers of Catholic conservatives are worried that Pope Francis is quietly unraveling the legacy of his predecessors, and want a return to the good old days when Popes such as Benedict and John Paul regularly thundered against contraception, homosexuality and abortion.

Instead, what they have now, according The National Catholic Reporter, is a dangerous reformer who is diluting Catholic teaching on moral  issues like homosexuality and divorce while focusing on social problems such as climate change and economic inequality.

Interviews with four Vatican officials, including two cardinals and an archbishop, as well as theologians and commentators, highlighted conservative fears that Francis’ words and deeds may eventually rupture the 1.2 billion member Church.

Chatter on conservative blogs regularly accuses the Argentine pontiff of spreading doctrinal confusion and isolating those who see themselves as guardians of the faith.

The NCR quoted Damien Thompson, associate editor of the British weekly The Spectator and a conservative Catholic commentator, as saying last month on Twitter:

Going to bed. Wake me up when this pontificate is over.

Thompson was among conservatives stung by a freewheeling news conference Francis gave on a flight home from Mexico.

In it, he stirred up the US presidential debate by criticising Republican candidate Donald Trump’s immigration stance and made comments that were interpreted as an opening to use contraceptives to stop the spread of the Zika virus.

Said a conservative Rome-based cardinal who took part in the conclave that elected Francis three years ago and spoke on the condition of anonymity:

Every time this happens I wonder if he realises how much confusion he is causing.

Another senior official, an archbishop in an important Vatican ministry, said:

These comments alarm not only tradition-minded priests but even liberal priests who have complained to me that people are challenging them on issues that are very straight-forward, saying ‘the Pope would let me do this’ why don’t you?’

Francis caused further upset when he changed church rules to allow women to take part in a male-only Lenten service, ruled out any campaigns to convert Jews and approved a “common prayer” with Lutherans for joint commemorations for next year’s 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation.

At the end of the synod last year, Francis excoriated immovable Church leaders who he said “bury their heads in the sand” and hide behind rigid doctrine while families suffer.

One of the leading conservative standard bearers, Ross Douthat, the Catholic author and New York Times op-ed columnist, has expressed deep worry about the long-term repercussions of the issue of communion for the divorced and remarried.

It may be that this conflict has only just begun. And it may be that as with previous conflicts in Church history, it will eventually be serious enough to end in real schism, a permanent parting of the ways.

The conservative standard bearer in Rome is Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, a 67-year-old American who in 2014 told an interviewer that the Church under Francis was like:

A ship without a rudder.

Francis was not pleased. That same year, he removed Burke as head of the Vatican’s highest court and demoted him to the largely ceremonial post of chaplain of a charity group.

13 responses to “Catholics hardliners regard Pope as a ‘dangerous reformer’”

  1. Rob Andrews says:

    The post 1960s generation and its ideas on sex drugs and power are now the mainstream. Many of the college of cardinals and other high churchmen are simply dying of, so no need for any change in thought.. Francis himself was fairly young in the 1960s.

    Conservative ideas like those embodied by Trump are making one last stand. Money has to go into the collection plate also. Get on the right side of history–or else!

    That’s pretty much my cynical observation. I bet a lot of those hardliners are old.

  2. lonbo says:

    “Interviews with four Vatican officials, including two cardinals and an archbishop, as well as theologians and commentators, highlighted conservative fears that Francis’ words and deeds may eventually rupture the 1.2 billion member Church.”

    Oh yeah, we can only hope and do all we can to expedite the rupture!

  3. John C says:

    Dangerous reformer,lol, how long before they decide to bump him off.

  4. sailor1031 says:

    Amazing what a little rhetoric will do to get the catholic moronocracy running in circles. It doesn’t occur to them that the CEO hasn’t actually made ANY meaningful changes.

    For the billion or so not-so-rabidly-fascist catholics in the world I’m sure they would welcome a schism if it got rid of the ultramorons like Douthat. Then they could have a more liberal (but not too much more) church they would like better.

    As for Damian Thompson – a very unhappy fellow if I read him aright – whatever pisses him off can only be a good thing.

  5. Brian Jordan says:

    They’re probably just playing the bad pope – good pope game.
    Anyway, weren’t they divinely guided when the picked him? Which I suppose makes it bad god – good god really.

  6. Broga says:

    They are worried about the Pope. Any worries about the endemic paedophilia and financial corruption in the RC Church?

  7. AgentCormac says:

    @Brian Jordan

    Yup, the pope is god’s man on the ground. So not only are conservative critics having a pop at the pontif, they’re having one at their lord and master too. Not a good idea if you actually believe the monster in the sky will burn you for all time if you don’t do exactly as he says. Sometimes I do have to wonder whether this lot believe a single word of what they preach. And then precisely one nano-second later I concede that they don’t. Like all religion, it’s just about power, influence, privilege and wealth. Charlatans one and all.

  8. L.Long says:

    When priests go to jail for crimes and the BS dogma is CHANGED and practiced, then I will think of Frankie as something special. Til then he’s criminal enabler!

  9. Cali Ron says:

    AgentCormac: “Sometimes I do have to wonder whether this lot believe a single word of what they preach. And then precisely one nano-second later I concede that they don’t. Like all religion, it’s just about power, influence, privilege and wealth.” Sums it up nicely. Just politics as usual at the Vatican.

  10. Peterat says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the only thing that the catholic church was spreading was confusion?

  11. Fiona says:

    Broga, having a friend who was systematically raped by a Catholic priest as a child in the now infamous Ballarat in Australia I can assure you that you are correct. The present pope doesn’t give a flying @&^^. Mind you he did have time to go and visit that non-Catholic woman in the US who refused to marry a gay couple.

  12. Broga says:

    @Fiona: The Pope is on a PR campaign. What he didn’t expect was the reaction of the RC hardliners.

    I think the priesthood believes what they preach. Do the believe in an all seeing God while the priests rape children and the cardinals are mired in financial corruption.

  13. 1859 says:

    @ Broga: Don’t you know that catholics can be ‘absolved’ of their sins (crimes) if they say enough ‘hail Marys’ and ‘our fathers’. Absolved of their sins means, of course, absolved of their guilt. So it doesn’t really matter if their ‘all-seeing’ doo-dar watches them raping children – he/it will forgive them if they just pray enough and show enough remorse and penance after they’ve been in the confessional and told the other pedophile behind the screen what they’ve done.