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Pope Francis continues to face unprecedented opposition and has called on people to pray the rosary for him

Letter from Rome

Pope Francis poses for a selfie photo with a woman as he arrives for a Mass at the church of St. Maria Josefa in Castelverde, on the outskirts of Rome, during a pastoral visit on Feb. 19. (Photo by Tiziana Fabi/AFP)

Robert Mickens, Vatican City
Vatican City

March 20, 2017

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Some self-declared Catholic traditionalists have been complaining bitterly that there is much confusion and division within the Catholic Church.

They blame it all on Pope Francis and, especially, on the challenging program he has launched for ecclesial renewal and reform. In doing so, they are de facto opposing the pope — especially his more merciful and pastoral application of the Gospel and church teaching.

"There has never been such open opposition to a pope as there has been to Bergoglio," says Andrea Riccardi, the Italian historian who founded the Sant'Egidio Community shortly after the Second Vatican Council.

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