Letter from Rome

Perhaps the biggest challenge Pope Francis poses to his critics and people in our much-divided world is that he is not an ideologue
Letter from Rome

Pope Francis gives an audience to participants at the General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life on Oct. 5 in the Vatican. (Photo by Alberto Pizzoli/AFP) 

Pope Francis has again come under increasing criticism from a variety of people and groups that are seriously at odds with his style of leadership, his views on crucial issues of our time and some of the actual decisions he has made.

His most vocal critics call themselves "church traditionalists" or "orthodox Catholics." Others admit to being "free-market capitalists" or political "conservatives."

But from time to time the pope also gets a thrashing from people who self-identify as "progressive", "reform-minded " or "Vatican II" Catholics. And social-political liberals and a few "peace and justice" types who have always found reasons to slam the Vatican leadership have also chimed in as of late.

This past week Francis got it from all sides.

The advocates for clergy sex abuse victims/survivors again went after him, at least indirectly, for not dealing transparently with a papal diplomat recently accused of accessing child pornography on a computer. They hit out at the pope through his Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, whom they criticized for never mentioning the online kiddy porn case during an address the cardinal gave in Rome on Tuesday for an international conference on… Internet pedophilia.

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