https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/2016-the-year-pope-francis-finally-showed-his-hand 2016: The year Pope Francis finally showed his hand catholic , pope francis ROME, January 3, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – 2016 marked a dramatic turning point in the pontificate of Pope Francis. It may be called the year of the great awakening, as more and more faithful Catholics and prelates, Cardinals included, came to a frightening understanding that there is a major problem with the current Pope. For the beginning years of his papacy, most, including LifeSite, gave Francis the benefit of the doubt. They repeatedly told themselves and others not to believe the media; that his words were being taken out of context or mistranslated; that he was just plain poor at doing interviews; that he wasn’t often aware of the consequences of his words; that he wanted to be pastoral and thus overstated things at times; and that off-the-cuff interviews are not official expressions of the Church’s teaching authority. Many of these hopes were pinned on the outcome of the two controversial Synods on the Family. It was hoped that the final document by the Pope would finally set things straight after he had allowed many bishops to express themselves freely, even in ways contrary to Christ’s own words. In the end, they thought, it would be as it was with Pope Paul VI who, after two years of deliberation and being intensely urged by numerous close advisors to alter the Church’s constant teaching against contraception, nevertheless proclaimed Humanae Vitae and confirmed perennial, authentic Catholic teaching. However, with Amoris Laetitia it has not been so. The confusion has been allowed to fester and only increase as Pope Francis himself has made known his personal views on the grave matters under consideration. He showed himself to be, at least in hard cases, open to altering the teaching of the Church, or as he would call it, being open to the “surprises of the Holy Spirit.” While the shift can most clearly be seen in the dubia by the six Cardinals, four of whom went public, it can also be seen in the growing concern expressed by official and powerful Catholic entities such as EWTN. The Catholic media empire founded by the saintly Mother Angelica has in their television programming with Raymond Arroyo, in their newspaper the National Catholic Register with Ed Pentin, and in their UK blog run by Deacon Nick Donnelly, taken to accurately and unapologetically reporting on the controversies caused by Pope Francis. Other Catholic officials and entities have also begun to express dismay and grave concerns but, after witnessing the demotions of Cardinal Burke, the brutal dismantling of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate and many other such harsh actions, their dismay has so far mostly been expressed in only whispered tones. It is instructive to watch what is not being done in order to appreciate the situation. Historically, with some very few exceptions, when a Pope has been openly questioned by Cardinals, a majority of course lept to his defense. However, in the matter of the dubia, we see, in addition to the four Cardinals that have gone public, several others expressing their sympathy and desire that the Pope would answer the questions and end the confusion. Yes, there are a bevy of bishops and a handful of Cardinals that have jumped to the Pope’s defense, many of them with personally derogatory remarks directed at the four Cardinals. However, where are the majority of the 120-strong College of Cardinals leaping to the defense of the Pope? The gravity of the present situation can best be understood by a look at the evidence. So in order to demonstrate the concern over Pope Francis, LifeSite here presents many of the more disturbing developments in the Francis papacy during 2016. For brevity, most of the incidents are presented with only a few words of description and a link to a fuller explanation for more careful study. This is not meant to be a comprehensive listing for the year, but only the most grave of incidents. We pray this compilation may serve to awaken more Catholics to the need for ardent prayer, sacrifice and productive action for the Church and the Pope at this grave time in the Church’s history of two millennia. January 18, 2016 Pope: Catholics who say “it’s always been done that way” have a “closed heart,” “will never reach the full truth,” and are “closed to the surprises of the Holy Spirit.” January 21, 2016 Pope Francis changes Holy Thursday foot-washing ritual to include women. Christ washed the feet of his all-male apostles at the Last Supper. February 8, 2016 Pope calls Italy’s foremost abortion promoter one of nation’s ‘forgotten greats’. In an interview with Corriere Della Sera Pope Francis praised Italy’s unrepentant leading abortionist and proponent of abortion, Emma Bonino, as one of the nation’s “forgotten greats,” comparing her to great historical figures such as Konrad Adenauer and Robert Schuman. February 18, 2016 Pope Francis’ uncorrected remarks on contraception interpreted worldwide as a shift in Church teaching. On his return flight from Mexico Pope Francis was asked about “avoiding pregnancy” in areas at risk of Zika virus transmission. “Paul VI, a great man, in a difficult situation in Africa, permitted nuns to use contraceptives in cases of rape,” he said. After reiterating that abortion is never morally justified, he said, “On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one, such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear.” Vatican confirms that Pope Francis was approving use of contraceptives and condoms in grave cases. (However, to do so would contradict the clear teaching of previous popes.) March 2, 2016 Pope changes Vatican protocol to allow for Catholic Heads of State in irregular marital unions to be able to meet the Pope along with their partner. April 8, 2016 Pope issues apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, creating an ongoing storm in the Church.