Skip to comments.Beyond the US, the Top Five countries for beefs with the Pope
Posted on 09/16/2019 7:22:24 AM PDT by ebb tide
ROME - Responding to a mini-fracas set off by his recent declaration that he considers it an honor when Americans are attacking me, Pope Francis told reporters during an inflight news conference Tuesday that the U.S. is not his only source of heartburn.
Criticism comes not only from the Americans, theyre coming from all over, Francis said.
The comment got me thinking: If we take the U.S. off the table, what are the other countries where criticism of this pope seems most robust?
Lets stipulate two points at the outset.
First, Francis hardly is the first pope to generate controversy, so the mere fact of blowback is both inevitable and non-probative. In fact, resistance is usually a token of relevance. If people didnt think Francis is making a difference, they wouldnt bother voicing a reaction.
Second, based on the usual measures - poll numbers, crowd size, media coverage, and so on - Francis remains probably the most beloved leader on the global stage today. Polls also show he commands the support of overwhelming majorities of Catholics, even in countries where he sometimes draws fire.
Herewith, a rundown of the Top Five countries other than the U.S. where this pope seems to bring things to a boil.
Africa tends to be a mixed bag for Francis. The African Church is dynamic, extremely loyal to the papacy, and it resonates with the anti-corruption and social justice message of a third world pope. Yet it also tends to be conservative on matters of faith and morals, leery of some of the winds blowing today.
Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa, is a good example.
A year after Francis issued his cautious opening to Communion for Catholics who divorce and remarry outside the Church in Amoris Laetitia, Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja declared that in a world going down the drain through widespread moral laxity, the Church of God cannot abdicate her responsibility to uphold the high standards of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Many Nigerian clergy also have complained about an overly irenic approach to Islam under Francis, wishing hed be more forceful about threats to Christians from both Boko Haram and largely Muslim Fulani tribesmen.
Theres also a local issue: A standoff in Ahiara, where clergy rejected a new bishop on ethnic grounds and Francis suspended priests who wouldnt pledge obedience, only to back down and remove the bishop. Some Nigerians believe thats encouraged further defiance.
In Poland, any pope starts with a deficit simply for not being John Paul II, and some Poles see Francis rolling back aspects of John Pauls legacy.
When the Polish bishops finally released guidelines for implementation of Amoris Laetitia in June 2018, they side-stepped the Communion issue but stressed that Amoris has to be read in continuity with previous papal teaching.
Beyond intra-Church issues, many Poles are also leery of Franciss environmental agenda, especially his advocacy of reducing use of fossil fuels as outlined in his 2015 encyclical Laudato si. Poland is the second-largest coal producer in Europe, and coal provides 88 percent of the power grid.
Polands governing Law and Justice Party, which prides itself on its Catholic roots, is also known for a hardline stance on border control at odds with Franciss own strongly pro-immigrant stance. Catholic Poles turned out in record numbers in 2017 to pray for the nations survival at its borders, an event that many viewed as a statement against immigration.
Theres a strongly conservative-to-traditional wing in Italian Catholicism which, from the beginning, has been skeptical of this maverick pope.
In 2015, a widely read Italian newspaper reported that Archbishop Luigi Negri of Ferrara had been overheard on a train voicing hope that the Madonna would work a miracle and cause Francis to die, and also offering sharp criticism of Franciss picks for bishops in Bologna and Palermo. Negri initially denied the report but then admitted having had the conversation while insisting he meant nothing disrespectful.
In 2016, the late Cardinal Carlo Caffarra of Bologna, another perceived leader of the conservative wing of Italian Catholicism, was among the four cardinals who submitted dubia, or critical questions, to Francis in response to Amoris Laetitia.
Lets also not forget that although some see accusations against Francis of a cover-up of sex abuse charges regarding ex-cardinal and ex-priest Theodore McCarrick as an American operation, it was an Italian cleric who leveled them, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, whose own writings on the subject are about as Italian as such things come.
Among ordinary Italians, however, such intra-Church debates dont really move the needle.
At that level, the main source of grief about Francis is his pro-immigrant stance, which is often a tough sell in a country resentful over what many believe is an unfair share of the European burden.
Listening to AM radio talk in Italy, youll hear biting commentary about Francis that would make even his harshest American critics blush. Meanwhile, polls shows that Italys far-right League party, led by former Deputy Prime Minister and anti-immigrant hawk Matteo Salvini, is still in first place, and given the countrys demographics, most of those Salvini voters are also Catholics.
Recently Cruxs Inés San Martín spent time back home in her native Argentina, among other things looking for evidence of a Francis effect. What she found, she reported, was a mix of enthusiasm and deep affection in some quarters with vitriol, disappointment, hatred, frustration and finger-pointing in others.
RELATED: Francis effect in Argentinas alternate reality a mix of light and shadows
Aside from the grumbling about Francis one could find anywhere - hes either too liberal or not liberal enough, for instance - San Martín found a couple of reactions that are uniquely Argentinian.
First, Argentines are angry Francis hasnt yet come home after six years in office. By way of contrast, John Paul II visited Poland within seven months of his election in 1978, and Benedict XVI was in Germany within four months of taking over in 2005.
Second, Argentines (and especially the Argentinian media) tend to assume that absolutely everything the pope says and does is directed at them, which means they assume hes forever taking sides in their political and cultural debates. All the divisions that run through society therefore are applied to the pope.
At the moment, Francis is drawing fire for his alleged support of the left-wing ticket in Argentinas looming national elections, despite the fact that one of his closest allies among Argentinas bishops has blasted those reports as science fiction.
1. Vatican City
In all honesty, this should be the least surprising entry on the list. The Vatican has a higher percentage of residents with strong opinions about the Catholic Church than anywhere else on earth, which means its denizens are always any popes toughest critics.
Under Francis, some senior Vatican figures have openly voiced doubts about some of the popes statements and decisions, with a few - American Cardinal Raymond Burke, for instance, and German Cardinal Gerhard Müller - losing their jobs, while others, such as Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, soldier on.
Its well known that many in the Vaticans old guard opposed early attempts at financial reform under Francis, and theyve proven resilient in fighting them off.
Off the record, youll find some Vatican officials on fire with enthusiasm for the direction Francis is leading and driven to get as much of his agenda accomplished as possible. Others will complain of an internal climate of intimidation and fear, low morale, and chronic confusion.
In other words, the CEOs staff is divided about the boss - which, really, is pretty much dog bites man in terms of shock value or news interest.
Heres a rundown of the other countries I considered.
Of course, this is no more than a personal, deeply unscientific assessment of the lay of the global land. Empirically, however, it seems safe to say at least this much: When it comes to papal criticism, whether warranted or not, its hardly just the States - even if, admittedly, our money and volume level sometimes can give that impression.
Who would have a problem with pope Beelzebub SatanLover?
I thank the Pope for removing any regrets I have for leaving the Catholic Church.
And, yes, the Pope is a Dope.
Very interesting. Thanks for posting.
Sounds like a menu item at a trendy Yuppie restaurant................
I would think the top of any list right now would be China.
Beefs with the Pope. Beers with Liz Warren. Same difference.
We used to have a restaurant here called ‘Beef O’Bradys’...................
Maybe they see it that way because that is exactly what the jag-off is doing. Ya think?
He knows "I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter," and knows how to use it with scathing success, as various FReeper Catholic AWOL's illustrate.
It's paradoxical, but true, that as soon as there's an actual painful struggle, soldiers would feel justified in leaving their post.
If the person is a good Catholic, it's hard to see how they are actually improving, defending or purifying the Church by leaving her.
Let's pry for each other. God knows I need it.
Then there’s countries the Pope sold out to Communism: China, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua. . .
Did this present lamentable falling-away --- so long and so frequently prophesized --- take you by surprise? Do you think it takes Him by surprise?
There is also a distinction between who enters the churches....both believers and not attend.
True believers distinguish these differences and recognize these things. We, as believers, are one with Christ as the head of us all. ....the church. Yet we are told there will be a great falling away, a great deception as no other tine in history within the churches and we are seeing this beginning today.....have watched it develop and grow .... So yes there is a difference between what continues today and what once was.
I think the thing to keep in mind is that it is a *Great Mystery* (in St.Paul's words) and refers to the already-and-not-yet reality that the Church is the Bride of Christ. The union of husband and wife is a sacrament (outward sign) (symbol that effects what it signifies) (magnum mysterium)of Christ and the Church.
So the Church is also the Body of Christ, because Christ and His Bride together make One Flesh. And thus it is also Incarnate, not "just" spiritual, because Christ is not just spiritual: he is embodied. He is incarnate and will always be incarnate, forever.
So it cannot just be an "invisible church." It has to be a "visible church" as well. The incarnate one we can see.
And it has to be a "visible church" the believer can find ("Go to the street called Straight) ("let him take it to the Church") and which speaks in a way he can hear ("...and if he refuses to listen even to the Church, regard him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.")
And this visible Church Christ has joined to Himself, is joining to Himself, and will join to Himself in fidelity: He cannot be separated from Her. He indeed identifies with Her. What you do to Her, His Church, His Bride, you are doing to Him:
"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" "Who are you, Lord?" "I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting."
This becomes all the more important, the more the culminating days of confusion and apostasy approach.
"And let us consider how to spur one another on
to love and good deeds.
Let us not neglect meeting together,
as some have made a habit,
but let us encourage one another,
and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
It is truly craven to leave the endangered Church, the visible Church, the Bridal Church at just the time when we most need each other. We need that "spurring on" to love and good deeds; we need that encouragement to keep on believing Christ's promise that He would not leave us orphans but would always be with us, all the more when danger most prevails, and we see approaching the great and terrible Day of the Lord.
And by he way, we all know it’s nothing to do with buildings per se. The ChiComs will be duking it out with the Muslims for the big buildings in the City Center, while the Church is meeting secretly in a tent next to the winos and psychos. We may live to see it.
You are still a baptized Catholic. The Pope does not affect my faith. You can come back to the Church any time, just sit down with a priest and get your questions answered.
We all need prayers.
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