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The Enemies of Pope Francis: Here’s Who Wants to Force Him to Resign

Discussion in 'Pope Francis' started by davidtlig, Jul 10, 2017.

  1. davidtlig

    davidtlig Powers


    John L. Allen Jr.
    July 9, 2017

    Saturday, Romans awoke to find a provocative image staring out from their neighborhood newsstands. On the cover of the latest issue of the magazine Millennium, published by the daily Il Fatto Quotidiano, was a traditional depiction of St. Sebastian with arrows protruding from his body, but with the head of the pope, under the title, “The Enemies of Pope Francis: Here’s Who Wants to Force Him to Resign.”

    This is hardly the first time an Italian publication has offered a run-down of the pontiff’s supposed enemies, both inside the Vatican and in the hierarchy, but the rhetoric this time was especially breathless.

    The title on the inside of the piece was, “Too many enemies for a pope alone: Behold who’s plotting to force Francis to resign,” while a press release by editor Peter Gomez referred to a “true and real war” being waged against the pontiff by “powerful cardinals, screaming ex-Masons and politically connected opinion-makers.”

    For the most part, the piece was a run-down of already well-documented episodes, such as Francis’s intervention with the Knights of Malta and the “Vatileaks 2.0” affair, with a Machiavellian undertone that they’re all expressions of subterranean opposition to the pope calculated to make his life so difficult that he eventually decides to walk away.

    Perusing press treatments such as this one, or following Catholic discussion on social media, often it would be easy enough to conclude that opinion about Francis is indeed clustered into two opposing camps, each with fairly extreme positions - either a lusty “hosanna” to everything Francis says and does, or an equally emphatic “no” to everything he’s perceived to represent.

    As fate would have it, at the same time the editors of Millennium were preparing their cover story, I was in Orlando, Florida, for an event called “The Convocation of Catholic Leaders,” bringing together almost 3,500 bishops, clergy, religious, and lay leaders, some of them from national-level Catholic organizations but most drawn from dioceses and parishes around the country.

    In other words, this was about as representative a cross-section of mainstream, meat-and-potatoes, Mass-going Catholics as you’re likely to get in the United States.

    Most of them knew what I do for a living, so at least three dozen times over four days I found myself in conversations about Francis - some very brief, some extended, many somewhere in between. I didn’t set out to do a scientifically valid round-up of opinion, but as far as anecdotal impressions go, it was probably a pretty healthy sample.

    By far, the most common opening comment I heard - from bishops, from clergy, from laity, from everybody - was some form of the following: “He’s great,” “he’s fantastic,” “I love him.” As Cardinal Tim Dolan of New York put it in typically colorful fashion, “We’ve got Joe DiMaggio as pope, and he’s on a 56-game hitting streak.”

    Some people were content to leave it at that. In many cases, however, that fundamental enthusiasm came bundled with a “but.”

    Some, for instance, told me that Pope Francis talks too much, and they wish he’d show a little more restraint. Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City-Kansas told me he’s heard people say, “He shouldn’t give press conferences above a certain altitude,” a joking reference to the pontiff’s legendary free-wheeling exchanges with reporters aboard the papal plane after foreign trips.

    Others expressed concern about specific doctrinal points - the pope’s cautious opening to Communion for the divorced and remarried in Amoris Laetitia, for instance, or rumors making the rounds in Rome that Francis may empower a commission to take a new look at Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s 1968 document on artificial contraception.

    (The idea that the teaching of Humanae Vitae could be in for a fundamental overhaul seems a bit of a stretch, given that Francis repeatedly has praised Paul VI for having the “strength to defend openness to life,” as he put in the Philippines in 2015. That’s precisely the thing about rumors, however - people don’t know quite what to believe.)

    Others told me they think the pope has a “blind spot” on the sexual abuse scandals, or on women, and others worry that his much-vaunted talk of Vatican reform doesn’t seem to be living up to its billing. Still others said they wished he’d be more careful on immigration, bolder on pro-life issues, and on and on, depending on what topic tended to animate a particular person most and how they evaluate the pope’s record.

    Bottom line, there really wasn’t a whole lot of polarization among the people to whom I spoke in Orlando. Pretty much everyone agreed that Francis has been quite healthy for the Church, changing its public image, attracting positive interest and creating missionary opportunities, and also inspiring the Church to break out of any temptation of self-referential navel-gazing and to get out into the game.

    For sure, no one I met would qualify as an “enemy” who’d be up for joining a plot to run Francis out of Rome on a rail.

    At the same time, these aren’t sycophants either. Most Catholics I spoke to thought this pope, like others they’ve watched come and go, has his flaws, his weaknesses, and areas where he’s out of his depth. In saying that, nobody was wishing him harm or expressing root-and-branch opposition - it was more akin to a healthy recognition that popes aren’t gods, and that loyalty doesn’t mean pretending to be deaf, dumb and blind when debatable prudential decisions are being made (or not made.)

    Where I’m going is this: We may well have a mismatch between the public debate about Francis and the reality on the ground.

    In public, often it appears to be a zero/sum, all-or-nothing war between supporters and opponents. On the ground, it’s more akin to a back-and-forth among basic supporters (of this pope and any pope) who nevertheless realize that even a great leader can have lacunae, and who are smart enough to know that critical loyalty is of more value to the Church, and to the pope himself, than either fawning unctuousness or blind hostility.

    Francis is famous for calling the Church to get “out of the sacristy and into the streets.” In a similar vein, I’d say that if you want to know what most Catholics are actually thinking about Francis, get off Twitter and into the trenches.

    Bella and Mario like this.
  2. Don_D

    Don_D Powers

    Click bait.

    The Catholic laity are in the trenches where they have always been.
    SgCatholic, Dolours and HeavenlyHosts like this.
  3. davidtlig

    davidtlig Powers

    o_O ??

    As the writer says, the Catholic laity are in the trenches.
  4. Fatima

    Fatima Powers

    I would not make Pope Francis into some type of a martyr with all he has done to cause a schism that is in motion. If he has enemies it is he who has brought this to be with his ambiguous attempts at changing doctrine and making trivial the requests for clarification. It is he who has dismissed the faithful Cardinals, Bishops, Priests and laity who know what has always been taught from scripture and tradition and now see these unchanging truths being advocated for change by those wolves in sheep's clothing. Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI were dry martyrs, as they were not listened to while defending the unchanging truths of God by those now hailng Pope Francis for usurping many of these truths. One only has to look at who the world is applauding and who it rejected to know this much.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017
    SgCatholic and Dolours like this.
  5. Mario

    Mario Powers

    Where I’m going is this: We may well have a mismatch between the public debate about Francis and the reality on the ground.

    In public, often it appears to be a zero/sum, all-or-nothing war between supporters and opponents. On the ground, it’s more akin to a back-and-forth among basic supporters (of this pope and any pope) who nevertheless realize that even a great leader can have lacunae, and who are smart enough to know that critical loyalty is of more value to the Church, and to the pope himself, than either fawning unctuousness or blind hostility.



    I would agree with this assessment. But then, I would say that the majority of Catholics in the USA do not delve deeply into the nuances of the Faith. And considering the purpose of the Convocation, I doubt any bishop would present themselves as a watchman-on-the-wall in such a setting.

    In my last Social Justice class of the academic year this past June, I asked for a clarification of what Pope Francis meant when saying we should not proselytize. I asked if there wasn't a difference between evangelizing and proselytizing. I was disappointed in the response, but the discussion overall was focused on the issue and not Pope Francis himself. I try to be objective as possible on the forum, but admit my angst over Pope Francis more easily finds expression here. In my diocesan interactions I focus more readily on the doctrinal issue raised. Still, if asked my views on Francis, I will express my misgivings and add that I'm praying that he take the bull by the horns and confront the conflicting responses surrounding Amoris Laetitia. For me, the growing disunity is the most deplorable aspect of the issues we discuss.

    Safe in the Barque of Peter!
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017
    Carol55 and DivineMercy like this.
  6. davidtlig

    davidtlig Powers

    I've just read on another forum, a post referring to this particular image and the original on which it is based and mentioning a possible connection with the Third Secret of Fatima:

    The Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions.

  7. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member

    @padraig as I said already, ENOUGH!!!

    This pope is NOT a martyr of the Faith. He's destroying it!

    Please do not permit your forum to be used and abused by posts containing such propaganda!
  8. Fatima

    Fatima Powers

    Actually the prophecy stated it was "a bishop in white", which fits more with another prophecy speaking on Benedict XVI. However, I will leave room for the repentance and conversion of Pope Francis as a possibility, as he is walking up the hills of Rome he may come to realize his grave errors that have cost the faithful so much.
    sterph and HeavenlyHosts like this.
  9. Dolours

    Dolours Powers

    Yes, the image and headline are click bait. That magazine is a weekly supplement of an Italian national daily newspaper which, according to Wikipedia, has a left-wing populist political alignment and has a circulation of about 35,000 putting it at 17th on the list of national print newspapers. It ranks fourth on the list of online newspapers. https://nortonsafe.search.ask.com/w...7-06-06&geo=US&guid=0DFB356D-5821-48B4-9352-4

    While opposing Silvio Berlusconi and the Mafia appear to be priorities for the newspaper's founders (commendable), I get the impression that they are sympathetic to Beppe Grillo and his party. Beppe Grillo isn't exactly best friends with the Catholic Church and has something of a bee in his bonnet about Rome not getting enough financial benefit from the Vatican being situated there and the cost to the Italian security forces. I have a vague memory of his having made some statement during the election campaign about levying a tax on the Vatican.

    Strange that a journalist with a Catholic news outlet would bother reproducing their magazine cover as though it were worthy of Catholics' attention in Italy or elsewhere.
  10. davidtlig

    davidtlig Powers

    I liked your comment on another thread that you are "just thinking aloud while trying to come to terms with seeing the faith of our fathers dismantled before our eyes by the very people entrusted with its care". I can now better understand where you are coming from!

    With regard to your comments here, I would just comment that it has not yet become Church teaching that being 'left leaning' politically is sinful! Cardinal Muller, in the video interview I posted elsewhere made the point that discussions in the Church should not become arguments between two ideologies.

    For me, the article presents a lot of interesting points and I certainly am quite 'taken' with the picture.
  11. padraig

    padraig New Member

    It was more than a little tasteless I think to portray a half naked Pope. But I detect a note of ironic comment in portraying Francis as St Sebastian the, 'Patron Saint of Homosexuals' as a model. I think perhaps you may have missed this allusion?

    I have a feeling the people who put this up are not really all that friendly either with Pope Francis or with the Church at all.

  12. Dean

    Dean Archangels

    Dang, look at the pope in the portrait, he has been working out.
  13. Dolours

    Dolours Powers

    With respect, David, we're all Catholics here, doing our best to live the faith. That's where we're coming from. What matters is where we're going and how we get there.

    I would hope being "left leaning politically" is not sinful because I would be quite left leaning politically if the political left hadn't abandoned its working class roots to pursue an agenda aimed at destroying the traditional family which is the lynch pin of stable societies. In short, the political left was hijacked by people with an anti-Christian ideology which has more to do with controlling the minds of people than raising their standard of living or providing them (us) with more opportunities. I'm Catholic first which prevents me from supporting any politician or party which would restrict my freedom to live my Catholic faith and, sadly, most left leaning political parties would change freedom of religion to freedom to worship. Beppe Grillo and his party are of that ilk. That they share the Pope's opposition to the Mafia doesn't make them or news outlets supporting them worthwhile reading by Catholics in Italy or elsewhere any more than the anti-Christian death cultist media mouthpieces of the US Democratic Party.

    John Allen didn't bother giving some background information about the newspaper he was quoting, so I looked it up and gave readers of this thread my impression of it. Did you bother checking it out before quoting the article here? There was little of interest or value in the Crux article for Catholics. Nothing new or newsworthy. The author, attending a gathering of Catholics from across the US, chose to lead with a nothing story from Italy rather than do some actual reporting about the event he was attending. Don was right when he called it click bait. The picture on the front page of the magazine was click bait for the paper in Italy and reproducing it on an article aimed at an audience of US Catholics was more click bait.
    Don_D likes this.
  14. davidtlig

    davidtlig Powers

    No Dolours, I didn't because I was not quoting from the newspaper but from the Crux website which I find a very trustworthy site. For me, the source of John Allen's article is irrelevant. The picture copied from the magazine/newspaper continues to haunt me now and makes me ponder afresh at what we are experiencing in the Church at the moment.
  15. Dolours

    Dolours Powers

    Perhaps that was John Allen's purpose in reproducing the picture.......stirring up fear in faithful Catholics that the Pope is under attack. I don't know where you're located but a glance at the US news from outlets like CNN might give you a sense of dejavu. One of Russia's errors that has spread throughout the world is manipulation of the masses via the media. Crux is just as likely to have been infected as any other news outlet. That's not, of course, to cast doubts on John Allen's motives for reproducing the picture. I'm simply saying that I wouldn't rule it out. I first came across John Allen as a "Catholic" reporter on CNN. I wouldn't rate CNN as a quality, unbiased source of news. While I hate to cast a guilt by association shadow over John Allen and his professional integrity, did his report include anything, other than idle and irrelevant chatter, about the Catholic gathering he attended? Isn't Crux supported by the Knights of Columbus? If so, I would expect better from them.
    Don_D likes this.
  16. Don_D

    Don_D Powers

    The idea that Pope Francis is under siege by anyone let alone multiple sources is ludicrous and it is a tactic used by some in positions of responsibility to manipulate people to the causes they champion. This is by no means only a leftist political affiliation because it is commonly used to rally support to various causes.

    Everyone loves an underdog.
  17. Dolours

    Dolours Powers

    Yes, it's an example of poor journalism and poor journalism isn't exclusive to the left.

    If the article had the same effect on other readers as it had on David, it was successful. A Catholic news outlet using a tasteless picture from a secular Italian paper to whip up fear in Catholics that the Pope is facing some kind of martyrdom from members of the hierarchy is cheap and petty, and says more about the journalist than matters relevant to the Catholic faith.
    SgCatholic and Don_D like this.

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