Wednesday, June 12, 2024

New book: Several US bishops anonymously criticise Pope Francis

True Confessions' Offers Interpretive ...

In a new book, several US bishops talk about their problems with Pope Francis and his administration - albeit anonymously.  

As the "National Catholic Reporter" reported on Tuesday, they accuse Francis of having an authoritarian leadership style and undermining papal authority. 

"A pope should be the principle of unity in the Church, and instead Francis is encouraging ambiguity that contributes to division," one bishop is quoted as saying in the book.

The book, entitled "True Confessions: Voices of Faith from a Life in the Church", is a volume of interviews published by Francis Maier, a former colleague of the former Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput

In addition to bishops, priests and lay people also have their say and talk about their views on the current situation of the Church and politics in the United States. 

According to the "National Catholic Reporter", they mainly come from the conservative spectrum and many of them also remain anonymous. In the section with the bishops, the questions they were asked were not published.

"His attitude is authoritarian"

Francis' attitude towards the United States and its bishops is obvious and unjustified, one senior pastor criticised. "His attitude is authoritarian. And it is telling that not a single seminarian inspired by Francis has come to this diocese during his time in office."

Another bishop praises the fact that the Roman Curia has focussed much more effectively on the needs of local bishops over the past ten years, which he highly credits to Pope Francis. 

"But I think his way of governing is actually quite ruthless. It undermines the authority of the papal office." Another one sees Francis surrounded by a "clique" that "pursues a useless ideology and agenda and has a very negative view of the United States".

The US episcopate in particular has repeatedly issued statements critical of Francis, especially because of his actions against the Old Mass, the blessing of homosexual couples that he has authorised and his emphasis on synodality. 

The Bishops' Conference is considered to be dominated by a conservative majority and divided on many issues. 

Francis himself repeatedly criticises "backward-looking" circles in the US church. 

The Apostolic Nuncio to the USA, Cardinal Christophe Pierre, criticised in November that some US priests, religious and bishops were "terribly opposed to Francis", as if he were the "scapegoat for everything that goes wrong in the Church or in society". 

At the end of this week, the US bishops will meet for their spring plenary assembly in Louisville (Kentucky).