Here is an excerpt from this morning’s story in the Washington Post:
A measure of the church’s long history of intrigue has spilled into the Francis papacy, particularly as the pope has ordered radical overhauls of murky Vatican finances. Under Francis, the top leadership of the Vatican Bank was ousted, as was the all-Italian board of its financial watchdog agency.
One method of pushback has been to give damaging leaks to the Italian news media. Vatican officials are now convinced that the biggest leak to date — of the papal encyclical on the environment in June — was driven by greed (it was sold to the media) rather than vengeance. But other disclosures have targeted key figures in the papal cleanup — including the conservative chosen to lead the pope’s financial reforms, the Australian Cardinal George Pell, who in March was the subject of a leak about his allegedly lavish personal tastes.
More often, dissent unfolds on ideological grounds. Criticism of a sitting pope is hardly unusual — liberal bishops on occasion challenged Benedict. But in an institution cloaked in traditional fealty to the pope, what shocks many is just how public the criticism of Francis has become.
In an open letter to his diocese, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, R.I., wrote: “In trying to accommodate the needs of the age, as Pope Francis suggests, the Church risks the danger of losing its courageous, countercultural, prophetic voice, one that the world needs to hear.” For his part, Burke, the cardinal from Wisconsin, has called the church under Francis “a ship without a rudder.”
Even Pell appeared to undermine him on theological grounds. Commenting on the pope’s call for dramatic action on climate change, Pell told the Financial Times in July, “The church has got no mandate from the Lord to pronounce on scientific matters.”
In conservative circles, the word “confusion” also has become a euphemism for censuring the papacy without mentioning the pope. In one instance, 500 Catholic priests in Britain drafted an open letter this year that cited “much confusion” in “Catholic moral teaching” following the bishops’ conference on the family last year in which Francis threw open the floodgates of debate, resulting in proposed language offering an embraceable, new stance for divorced or gay Catholics.
That language ultimately was watered down in a vote that showed the still-ample power of conservatives. It set up another showdown for next month, when senior church leaders will meet in a follow-up conference that observers predict will turn into another theological slugfest. The pope himself will have the final word on any changes next year.
Conservatives have launched a campaign against a possible policy change that would grant divorced and remarried Catholics the right to take Communion at Mass. Last year, five senior leaders including Burke and the conservative Cardinal Carlo Caffarra of Bologna, Italy, drafted what has become known as “the manifesto” against such a change. In July, a DVD distributed to hundreds of dioceses in Europe and Australia, and backed by conservative Catholic clergy members, made the same point. In it, Burke, who has made similar arguments at a string of Catholic conferences, issued dire warnings of a world in which traditional teachings are ignored.
But this is still the Catholic Church, where hierarchical respect is as much tradition as anything else. Rather than targeting the pope, conservative bishops and cardinals more often take aim at their liberal peers. They include the German Cardinal Walter Kasper, who has suggested that he has become a proxy for clergy members who are not brave enough to criticize the pope directly.
Yet conservatives counter that liberals are overstepping their bounds, putting their own spin on the pronouncements of a pope who has been more ambiguous than Kasper and his allies are willing to admit.
“I was born a papist, I have lived as a papist, and I will die a papist,” Caffarra said. “The pope has never said that divorced and remarried Catholics should be able to take Holy Communion, and yet, his words are being twisted to give them false meaning.”
Some of the pope’s allies insist that debate is precisely what Francis wants.
“I think that people are speaking their mind because they feel very strongly and passionately in their position, and I don’t think the Holy Father sees it as a personal attack on him,” said Chicago Archbishop Blase J. Cupich, considered a close ally of the pope. “The Holy Father has opened the possibility for these matters to be discussed openly; he has not predetermined where this is going.”
According to the website, churchauthority.org, the Pope has three main duties:
He is the Supreme Pastor.
That means that he represents Christ’s love and concern for every single individual. That is why the Pope’s priority lies in getting to know people, understanding how they live, listening to their interests and sharing their sufferings and their joys. On no account should the Pope allow his contact with ordinary people to be obstructed by a multitude of administrative duties.
He is the Unifier of the People of God.
Because of the international character of the Church, this will create many demands. The good of the world-wide Church and the autonomy of local Churches need to be balanced. That is why the Pope should guide and inspire the Central Synod of Bishops so that it can efficiently work out agreements and general Church policies.
He is the Prime Witness to Faith.
This includes both preaching [= announcing the message to non-Christians] and teaching [= explaining an element of Christ’s message in today’s context]. On very rare occasions the Pope is the main exponent of the infallible understanding of faith [=inerrancy] that is carried by the whole people of God. The Pope can only do so after listening to the People of God and discerning the faith they carry in their hearts.
Pope Francis is the first Pope who represents the Far Left Political Viewpoint.
Pope Francis seems more comfortable reaching out to Communist and Socialist countries, then he does to the Vatican’s Traditional Allies, those countries who enjoy strong economies, built upon freedom and a competitive marketplace.
I know that I may sound like an old cracker, but my generation was blessed with three very remarkable leaders: United States President Ronald Reagan, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II.
These three stood for everything that was good about freedom.
All three knew the dangers and corruption of the implementation of Marxist Theory through the governments of man.
Here is what the wonderful and gracious Pope John Paul II said about an out-of-control Nanny-State (Socialist) Government:
By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending, In fact, it would appear that needs are best understood and satisfied by people who are closest to them who act as neighbors to those in need. It should be added that certain kinds of demands often call for a response which is not simply material but which is capable of perceiving the deeper human need.
And, while this present Pontiff is romancing the Palestinians, Pope John Paul II reached out to God’s Chosen People.
In 1994, John Paul II established full diplomatic ties between the Vatican and Israel. He said,
For the Jewish people who live in the State of Israel and who preserve in that land such precious testimonies to their history and their faith, we must ask for the desired security and the due tranquillity that are the prerogative of every nation . . .
Pope John Paul II also said…
The historical experience of socialist countries has sadly demonstrated that collectivism does not do away with alienation but rather increases it, adding to it a lack of basic necessities and economic inefficiency.
I do not believe that Jesus would be a part of the Social Justice Movement, which is so popular among Liberal Churches, today. His was and is a soul-saving movement. One that still brings hundreds of thousand of people to individual salvation on this terrestrial ball every day. A movement that, in fact, was embraced by the founders of this cherished land.
Dr. Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, once said:
Regrettably, there is no shortage of preachers who have traded the Gospel for a platform of political and economic change, most often packaged as a call for social justice…
The church is not to adopt a social reform platform as its message, but the faithful church, wherever it is found, is itself a social reform movement precisely because it is populated by redeemed sinners who are called to faithfulness in following Christ. The Gospel is not a message of social (collective) salvation, but it does have social implications.
Pope Francis is presently doing the World’s Catholics a great disservice.
The current Pope’s embracing of certain aspects of Socialism, “Climate Change”, and the other erroneous, secular philosophies of the Far Left, dilutes his effectiveness as an Emmissary of God and the Head of the Catholic Church.
The world hungers for the Word of God.
Mankind needs to hear of God’s Love for them as individuals, not the machinations and limitations of man, as detailed in Marxist Theory.
Until He Comes,