Pope Francis' push for a 'more inclusive church' still faces 'vocal opposition' from hardliners: report

Pope Francis' push for a 'more inclusive church' still faces 'vocal opposition' from hardliners: report
image via Creative Commons

A decade has passed since Jorge Mario Bergoglio, aka Pope Francis, became the leader of the Catholic Church. Francis' leadership began in March 2013, and the 86-year-old pope continues to have his share of admirers and detractors.

By Vatican standards, Francis has been more liberal than his predecessors. But to his critics on the far right, Francis has been too liberal. And debates over Francis' leadership underscore the divisions within Catholicism in 2023.

On one hand, President Joe Biden and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) identify as devout Catholics. Yet both of them are vehement critics of the U.S. Supreme Court, which is now dominated by far-right Catholics such as Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Samuel Alito and Justice Amy Coney Barrett. And Justice Sonia Sotomayor is herself a Catholic who dislikes the Court's current direction.

READ MORE:Pope Francis sends 'powerful message' by elevating liberal bishop over archbishop who banned Pelosi from communion

Biden, Pelosi and Sotomayor are examples of Catholics who have a more liberal — or at least a more moderate — approach to Catholicism, while Thomas, Alito and Barrett are among Catholicism's severe hardliners. And during Francis' ten years as pope, there has been a great deal of debate among Catholics about whether the pope is too liberal or not liberal enough. Some right-wing Catholics believe the Buenos Aires native is too supportive of gay rights; some liberals believe he should be more supportive.

Sylvia Poggioli, reporting for National Public Radio (NPR) in an article published on March 13, examines some of the reforms that have come about under Francis' leadership during the last ten years.

"The pope has opened up the (Catholic) Church administration, with many women in leadership positions," Poggioli observes. "And he has declared war on clericalism — that old boys' network of priests, bishops and cardinals…. Francis has promoted outreach to other religions, in particular intensifying the Church's dialogue with Islam."

But according to David Gibson, director of the Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham University in the Bronx, Catholicism's hardliners are not happy with him.

READ MORE:Pope Francis: Homosexuality 'a sin' but not 'a crime'

Gibson told NPR, "The opposition to Francis is increasingly vocal. The opposition is very strong. It's very passionate. It's everything goes."

In Germany, for example, Cardinal Gerhard Müller has described Francis' leadership as a "hostile takeover" of the Catholic Church. And Poggioli notes that Francis' "scathing critiques of laissez-faire capitalism" and "staunch environmentalism" have "angered many conservatives."

The NPR reporter writes, "Francis' goal is a more inclusive church, where everyone can be heard and share in the decision-making. The conservatives will likely do all they can to thwart the pope's agenda."

READ MORE: Pope Francis knocks pro-war head of Russian Orthodox Church as Vladimir Putin's 'altar boy'

Read NPR's full report at this link.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}
@2022 - AlterNet Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. - "Poynter" fonts provided by fontsempire.com.