As the Catholic Church continues to be buffeted by sex abuse scandals, there have been calls for Pope Francis to resign. Detractors accuse the Pope of failing to discipline the American Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who has been accused of engaging in sexually inappropriate acts and covering up the abusive acts of others. The Pope ordered the 88-year-old to a life of prayer in late July.
But as The Daily Beast reports, it appears that conservative Catholic leaders are exploiting the sex abuse scandals as a way to attack and undermine Pope Francis, widely seen as more progressive than many sectors of the Catholic Church.
“How sweet for conservatives that he would be the one to bring him down,” an American bishop who does not wish to be quoted by name told The Daily Beast. “It’s like twisting the knife.”
One of the most active leaders in the campaign to oust Pope Francis is the American Cardinal Raymond Burke. As the Daily Beast notes, Burke has previously aligned with former Trump staffer Steven Bannon to rail against Pope Francis after he urged compassion for migrants and refugees. Bannon accused Pope Francis of being “one of the worst instigators of this open borders policy.”
The Daily Beast article points out that many of the right-wing clergy trying to use the sex abuse scandals to hurt Pope Francis have been complicit themselves. Carlo Maria Viganò, the Vatican’s former papal nuncio to the United States, wrote a damning letter to Pope Francis. But Viganò, too, had been friendly with McCarrick.
“Never mind that many of the conservatives arrayed against Francis, including Viganò, shared a certain and easily traceable clerical camaraderie with McCarrick during his heyday—only to use him now as a thorn in Francis’s side in their plot to topple his papacy,” the Daily Beast observes.