[Spectator] Damian Thompson: Watch out Pope Francis: the Catholic civil war has begun

..now another voice is being heard. The last pope is neither dead nor senile nor as silent as we thought he was going to be. In the last month Benedict XVI has written to the ex-Anglicans of the Ordinariate expressing delight that they now worship in the former Bavarian chapel in Warwick Street, London; to Rome’s Pontifical Urban University about the dangers of relativism; and, most significantly, to supporters of the old liturgy. ”˜I am very glad that the usus antiquior [the traditional Latin Mass] now lives in full peace within the church, also among the young, supported and celebrated by great cardinals,’ he said. In fact, very few cardinals celebrate in the old rite. But one who does is Raymond Burke. ”˜Benedict is well aware of that,’ says a Ratzinger loyalist. ”˜He’s not under the illusion that he’s still pope, but he was appalled by the sight of Kasper trashing his legacy and he is making his displeasure clear.’

Where does this leave Francis? Looking a bit like ”˜the Hamlet Pope’, Paul VI, whom he has beatified. He supports some sort of reform, but uncertainty is breaking the church into factions reminiscent of the Anglican Communion. Old enemies of Benedict XVI reckon they can persuade Francis to stack the college of cardinals in their favour. Meanwhile, Burke has emerged as leader of the hardline traditionalists. ”˜He did not want this role but perhaps he sees himself as a St John Fisher figure,’ says one Vatican source, a comparison that casts the successor of Peter in the role of Henry VIII.

What should worry Francis is that moderate conservative Catholics are losing confidence in him…

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic

3 comments on “[Spectator] Damian Thompson: Watch out Pope Francis: the Catholic civil war has begun

  1. Vatican Watcher says:

    And the “moderate conservatives” are probably the most important. They are the John Paul Catholics who are fine with Vatican II, but not the post-conciliar excesses pushed on the Church by the progressives. They have caught a lot of flak over the years for their gymnastics in rationalizing what JPII and Benedict did since in the end they regarded the two popes as their own. But Francis is leaving them very little wiggle room. Though the progressives have lumped Burke in with the traditionalists, he is a JPII conservative and his fellows see him getting the shaft and are realizing Francis is not defendable.

  2. magnolia says:

    i am going to start praying for the catholic church; imo they and the russian orthodox are the last holdouts to strong traditional Christianity. i think Pope Francis means well and is good for public relations but he’s losing direction. if he doesn’t buck up the catholics will go the way of us.

  3. Adam 12 says:

    The issues are as interesting as they are thorny. How can a church project mercy while holding to orthodoxy, but without becoming “theological narcicists”? And what will the world do to the church when it tries?