Conservatives within the Catholic Church are trying to lay “poisoned bait” forPope Francis, it has been claimed just days after the pontiff faced a rebellion from Vatican cardinals opposed to his more liberal stance.
With the Pontiff mid-way through a Vatican summit on the family that has been dogged by scandal and rumours of plotting, Italian newspapers on Wednesday reported numerous accounts of plots to destabilise Pope Francis.
Nello Scavo, a journalist at Avvenire, an Italian daily linked to the Catholic Church, told La Repubblica there was a concerted move to “weaken the character and the strength of Pope Francis”.
“There is an ideological battle, it is true,” said Mr Scavo, the author of a new book entitled The Enemies of Francis. “In recent years there have also been some inside the curia who have tried to lay poisoned bait for Francis.”
He cited the example of Krzysztof Charamsa, a senior Vatican official and Polish priest, who came out publicly as gay just a day before the Vatican summit began, criticising what he called “institutionalised homophobia in the church”.
Monsignor Charamsa also claimed that a majority of priests were gay, before being sacked just hours later by the Vatican.
Leonardo Boff, a theologian who has close ties with the pope, told Oggi magazine it was “a trap set by those on the right of the church who oppose the pope”.
“Because he [Charamsa] didn’t do it in a simple way,” he added. “But in a provocative way in order to create problems for the Synod and for Francis”.
On Monday the three-week debate tackling thorny issues such as homosexuality and divorce was thrown into chaos as a rebellious letter to Pope Francis signed by 13 cardinals was leaked to Italy’s L’Espresso magazine.
The letter urged against abandoning key elements of Catholic doctrine, warning the Catholic church risked collapse in the same way liberal protestant churches had done.
Federico Lombardi, chief Vatican spokesman, described the letter as an “an act of disturbance”.
Vatican experts warned certain sections of the church were trying to recreate the climate that lead to the Vatileaks scandal, when a series of secret documents were leaked alleging corruption and nepotism within the Vatican administration.
Pope Francis issued a surprise public apology this week for the scandals which have shaken the Vatican and Rome in recent weeks.
“I want, in the name of the Church, to ask forgiveness for the scandals which have recently hit Rome and the Vatican. I ask you for forgiveness,” Pope Francis said at the start of his weekly general audience in Saint Peter’s Square.
Vatican expert Joshua McElwee writing in the National Catholic Reporter described the apology as an “extraordinary step”.
The scandal of the letter has only intensified since it was leaked after four of the alleged signatories denied involvement. The alleged leader of the rebellion, George Pell, the Pope’s Finance minister, claimed the leaked version had “errors”.
Around 270 cardinals, archbishops and bishops have been brought together at the Synod to discuss contentious issues such as celibacy for priests, abortion, the Church’s stance towards homosexuals and whether to grant Communion to divorced Catholics who have then remarried.
The gathering is seen as ideological battleground between the conservative and progressive wings of the Catholic Church.
Categories: Roman Catholic Church News