By Damian Thompson March 11, 2017 in The Spectator Magazine
It is no secret in Rome that several cardinal want Francis to step down
On the first Saturday in February, the people of Rome awoke to find the city covered in peculiar posters depicting a scowling Pope Francis. Underneath were written the words:
Ah, Francis, you have intervened in Congregations, removed priests, decapitated the Order of Malta and the Franciscans of the Immaculate, ignored Cardinals… but where is your mercy?
The reference to mercy was a jibe that any Catholic could understand. Francis had just concluded his ‘Year of Mercy’, during which the church was instructed to reach out to sinners in a spirit of radical forgiveness. But it was also a year in which the Argentinian pontiff continued his policy of squashing his critics with theatrical contempt…
In any case, it is not anonymous mockery that should worry the Pope: it is the public silence of cardinals and bishops who, in the early days of his pontificate, missed no opportunity to cheer him on.
The silence is ominous because it comes amid suspicion that influential cardinals are plotting against Francis — motivated not by partisan malice, but by fear that the integrity and authority of the papacy is at stake.
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