March 25, 2018
By the Editorial Board
Winston Churchill famously said of Russia in 1939 that “it is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” To hear many commentators and experts on religion, especially the Roman Catholic faith, tell it, this phrase could be used to describe Pope Francis.
The world marked the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ installation as bishop of Rome this month, and the verdicts came flying from all directions.
Conservatives say he is doctrinally confused and that he has reversed, or is trying to reverse, the ethical rigor of Pope John Paul II and the liturgical dignity and theological clarity of Pope Benedict XVI.
Liberals complain that Pope Francis has failed to change doctrine, on divorce and remarriage, for example. That he has not reformed church structure. And that he has failed to come to terms with clergy sexual abuse — either as past sin or ongoing sin. They say the church has never really done penance for the horrors of priest pedophilia, not only in the U.S. but around the world.
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