NEW YORK – Under the heading “The War Against the Pope Begins,” a list of criticisms launched at Pope Francis from within the Vatican has been published widely in Spanish-speaking outlets throughout Latin America.
Seasoned Vatican observers already have begun expressing concern about the pontiff’s safety, with the concern not so much over external enemies of the Roman Catholic Church but over forces within the church that are resistant to change.
Members of the Curia, the administrative clerics in Rome, along with various appointed officials that have helped govern the Vatican for decades, are increasingly unhappy with Pope Francis, whose life experience traces back to Buenos Aires, not Rome.
Increasingly, harsh criticism of Francis is being whispered in Rome and suggested in various posts on social networking websites as radical conservative sectors within the church voice dissatisfaction.
A list of 11 harsh criticisms being leveled at Francis from within the Vatican first appeared after being widely posted in Spanish on websites read in Latin America.
Now, the list is reaching a worldwide audience as Spanish-speaking Catholics begin circulating it through emails with their Spanish-speaking friends in other countries, including the United States.
‘The war against the pope’
Presented below are the 11 criticisms translated from Spanish:
- On Holy Thursday, March 28, as reported by international news sources including Reuters, Pope Francis broke with Vatican tradition to travel outside the Vatican walls to visit the Casal del Marmo youth prison in the outskirts of Rome, where the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio included in the ritual for the first time washing the feet of women, including two who were Muslims. This was unprecedented in a ritual that stretches back centuries in Roman Catholic tradition. Conservatives watched in horror the “sacrilege” performed by “the smiling Pope Francisco,” who critics call “Papa piacione,” roughly translated “the pleasing Pope,” a derogatory term that refers to a person who always smiles and tries to get along with everyone.
- Pope Francis refuses to live in the papal apartment in the Vatican, deciding instead to live in the Vatican’s Santa Marta residence, a four-star hotel where many different people live. Evidently, the pope wants to avoid the isolation that typically surrounds a pope who lives within the papal apartment in the Vatican’s papal residence. Instead, Pope Francis wants to be aware of what is going on outside the Vatican walls. In the papal apartment, Pope Francis knows he would be watched constantly and, in a way, controlled, with his every action mediated by others. Pope Francis fears that within the papal apartment he would remain uninformed about events in the world outside the Vatican, at the mercy of the “Vatican hyenas” who plan to remove him from the attention of the media.
- On March 23, at his lunch meeting with his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at Castel Gandolfo outside Rome, the first time in 600 years that such a meeting has been possible, Pope Benedict confided to Pope Francis that one of the causes of his resignation was the threats he received against his life and the fear he would be poisoned. Worried that the decision had already been taken to kill him, Pope Benedict explained that by making his resignation public, he had neutralized attacks on his life and disarmed the attempt to murder him.
- The high power entrenched under the dome of the Vatican is totally opposed to Pope Francis’ plans to reform, eliminate and modify the pomp, ritualism and ostentation of the Roman Catholic Church. Many believe Pope Francis has a secret desire and thought to permit women to enter the Catholic priesthood, a decision that would have the effect of an earthquake of the church establishment.
- The Roman Curia and the power establishment within the Catholic Church reject the public appeal Pope Francis has made to strength dialogue and relationships with Islam. Pope Francis is being accused of engaging in a relativistic theology that is hostile to traditional Catholic Church dogma.
- Pope Francis has marginalized the most senior Vatican officials by actions he took during the foot washing ceremony of Holy Thursday.
- The Catholic Church insiders accuse Pope Francis of ignoring the rules and practices of the Catholic Church in that the pope has taken action without consulting or asking the permission of anyone to make exceptions on how ecclesiastical rules and practices apply to him.
- The ultra-conservative Catholic organization Opus Dei has banned from all its “Troa” bookstores for censorship reasons the sale of the first book to be published on the new pope, “Francis, the New Pope John XXIII,” written by Jose Manuel Vidal and Jesus Pretty, despite having ordered 3,000 copies from the publisher.
- The authority appointed by Pope Francis to investigate financial corruption associated with the Vatican Bank has made an important seizure of hundreds of boxes of documents that document Vatican finances and the important figures in the Italian “Mafia” engaged in an enormous scheme of money-laundering and embezzlement designed to make money in the Vatican disappear into their pockets. The financial scandal involving the Vatican Bank is the “Sampson” that will bring down the columns supporting the Sistine Chapel and the ostentatious and luxurious buildings in the Vatican structure.
- As much as Opus Dei, the “Illuminati Freemasonry,” the important and influential sectors of banking and economics and the Italian Mafia, so, too, the cardinals in the Catholic Church hierarchy form their own “Mafia and Vatican Power Structure” that feels an immediate danger from the incriminating documents seized in the anti-corruption Pope Francis initiated involving the Vatican Bank. These powers-that-be fear Pope Francis has every intention of cleaning up and putting controls upon Vatican finances, as well as upon all the various businesses and investments made by the multi-billionaire religious state.
- Another situation that has angered and made furious these various groups that always were the power behind the throne in the Vatican: Pope Francis does not agree that the cassock offenders (the homosexuals and pedophiles in the Vatican’s “gay lobby) that live within the Vatican environs will be allowed to live as refugees, hidden away from view, and free of any consequences that have to be faced under civil law. For now, Pope Francis has left instructions that whoever faces civil or criminal accusations or penalties will not be able to hide from their legal infractions by remaining ensconced away in the legal sanctuary of the Vatican.
“Can you imagine what is coming?” the article concludes, asking for the prayer from the Catholic faithful from around the world for the health and well-being of Pope Francis.
What is clear from the Spanish-language publication is an awareness that the simplicity and humility of Pope Francis has challenged the wealth, power and privilege of the Roman Curia, as well as the appointed officials running the Vatican Bank, the Vatican finances and the Vatican investments.
Pope Francis’ determination to take the Catholic Church back to what he perceives as Christ’s mission to help the poor, the infirm and those less fortunate in life is clearly not popular with those in the Vatican who expected him to move into the papal apartments, put on the pope’s crimson robes and accept a life of luxury and privilege afforded to the modern popes who have preceded him as head of the Catholic Church.
Vatican observers note popes intent on reform can be engaging in a risky enterprise.
Pope John Paul I, who died in his sleep on Sept. 28, 1978, after a reign as pope of only 33 days, was believed at the time of his death to be getting ready to launch a major investigation into Vatican Bank corruption.
The Institute for the Works of Religion was a major shareholder in Banco Ambrosiano, a major Italian bank that collapsed in 1982 with losses of more than $3 billion.
On June 18, 1982, the chairman of Banco Ambrosiano Bank, Roberto Calvi, a banker with close ties to the Vatican Bank, was found hanging from the Blackfriars Bridge in London in what was widely suspected as a murder disguised as a suicide.
At the time of Calvi’s death, the Mafia was believed to have been using Banco Ambrosiano for money-laundering purposes.
Calvi was known as “God’s Banker” because of his close ties to the Vatican.
Founded in 1942 as the Institute for the Works of Religion, the Vatican Bank is one of the most secretive banks in the world, operating with 114 employees and over $7 billion in assets.
Traditionally, the Vatican Bank has refused to cooperate with Italian banking authorities and international monetary authorities because the Vatican is a sovereign state that is not subject to the control of outside governmental authorities.
As if taking on the Vatican Bank were not enough, Pope Francis on June 6 in a private audience in Rome announced his intention to take on the “gay lobby,” a typically unacknowledged group of insiders operating within the Vatican, contending for power and influence.