They have always been in the circles of power of the Church, of all the churches, even in Jesus’ time. It was the Pharisees, the doctors of the Law, who preferred dogma and rite over love of neighbor. It was the inquisitors, El Hierro guardians of orthodoxy who condemned theologians, burned women at the stake, punished scientists who claimed that the Earth was round, or demonstrated the circulation of blood. Ultraconservatives are by no means an endangered species. And according to experts they are even willing to foment a schism.
“They are not a minority. 30% of the world’s most committed clergy, bishops and laity are against Francis.” The prestigious Vaticanista Marco Politi has put black on white the harsh reality facing the Church in the time of Francis. A full-fledged schismatic movement that, far from following the Pope, even with criticism of his management, prepares for battle.
The veteran journalist of The Reppublica He refuses to minimize opponents of the Argentine Pope, and denies that they are only ultras, or a small and noisy minority. In his analysis, Politi maintains that almost a third of the hierarchy and the institutionalized laity (conservative movements such as Opus Dei, the Kikos, the Knights of Columbus or the Legionaries of Christ) want to torpedo the reforms undertaken by this pontificate.
“There is a part of the Church that does not agree with Francisco and that is trying to influence the next conclave,” Politi maintains emphatically, affirming that the strategy of the ‘anti-Francis’ is to create states of mind for the future, and press in the present to stop possible reforms, as was seen in the past Synod of the Amazon.
Are you fighting for succession?
Is there a successor for Pope Francis? Everything seems to indicate that Bergoglio has placed his hopes in the Philippine cardinal Tagle, while the ultra-conservatives – who are joined by several Italian curials – dream of a duo formed by Cardinals Sarah and Ouellet, current prefects of the Congregations of Worship and Bishops , the two personalities with the highest rank among the opponents of the Pope.
Before the silence of the Vatican, signs follow one another, such as the last volley of the former nuncio Viganò, who accused the world authorities of using the pandemic to end the Catholic cult in a manifesto signed – among others – by Cardinals Müller and Zen. Also by Cardinal Sarah, considered the ‘papable’ of the ultra-conservative sector, who after signing the manifesto was removed from explicit support for the text. Politi sees all this as “the tip of the iceberg”. A point in which the emeritus pope, Benedict XVI, also registers, who after several months of silence has reappeared in the media on the occasion of a biography that has just come to light in Germany.
“Some bishops and cardinals are always in the front row, but behind them is a not insignificant part of the clergy and the laity who are against Francis and any reform in the Church,” adds the Vatican. “There have never been so many attacks against a Pope,” he concludes.
However, these sectors are beginning to erode. Last week one of the most absurd images of the anti-Francisco sector was seen, with cross-accusations that reveal the lack of trust between them, to the point of leaking the recordings of the mutual calls.
Conspiracy theories against the pandemic
The story is complex, but it shows how the leaders of the anti-Bergoglio front throw each other’s tackle. Thus, Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, one of the few public opponents of the Pope who holds a key position in the Curia (he is prefect of Divine Worship), denied having signed a text by conservative cardinals and journalists in which they plot conspiracy theories about the coronaviruses and ensure that responses to the pandemic “are an excuse” to curb freedom of worship.
Through her Twitter account, Sarah assured that she can share “in a personal capacity” some aspects of the letter entitled For the Church and for the world but he explicitly asked the author of the letter, ex-nuncio Carlo Maria Viganò, not to appear as a signatory.
Viganò, a 79-year-old Italian archbishop, rose to fame within conservative sectors in 2018, after requesting the resignation of Pope Francis, alleging that the pontiff knew of a case of abuse in the United States, although he did not provide evidence to Justice.
In the letter published by Viganò on the site ‘Veritas Liberabit Vos’ (the truth will set them free), conservative groups assure that “public health must not and cannot become an excuse to infringe the rights of millions of people throughout the world. world, much less to deprive the civil authority of its duty to act prudently for the common good, “according to the transcript that some press sites showed.
Another signatory to the letter is the German Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; or Joseph Zen, Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, and the most critical of the Rome-Beijing agreement for the joint appointment of bishops.
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