Cardinals ‘shattered’ by hostility to Pope coming from within the Catholic Church05 October 2016 | by Christa Pongratz-Lippitt , Megan Cornwell
Pope Francis has come under fire for apparent ambiguity in his apostolic exhortation Amoris LaetitiaPope Francis is facing considerable hostility within the Catholic Church, according to two prominent cardinals.
Although the world at large is grateful that Pope Francis is “living the Gospel Message”, Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schönborn said he was “shattered” by the amount of opposition to the Pope in church circles.
Speaking to a congregation of more than 4,000 in St Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna, during the annual Medjugorje peace service on 27 September, he said: “It hurts me that Francis is meeting with so much hostility in the Church. Why is that? He is after all the Successor of St Peter! He is the Pope!”.
So many people worldwide were grateful for the Pope’s “benevolence, his love for the poor and the weak”, the cardinal continued. “He is living the Gospel Message for us. Why he is confronted with so much opposition from within our own ranks is completely incomprehensible to me.” It was all the more important to pray for Francis, he said.
One of the specific criticisms levelled at Francis recently from within the Church concerns his apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia. Some more conservative wings say it confuses teaching on communion for the divorced and remarried, and Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl expressed his disappointment on this in the National Catholic Reporter last week.
Cardinal Wuerl said he could not understand why some people would choose to vocally criticise Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, saying it was the result of a two-year consultative process “clearly rooted in the tradition of the church".
"I find it not all together clear why someone would put their judgment up against the judgment that comes out of all of this magisterial endeavour," said the cardinal. "This was a work of consensus and this was a work that's deeply rooted in the magisterial tradition of the church."
In July, 45 academics and clergy signed a letter to the Dean of the College of Cardinals, calling for the Pope to clarify 19 statements “whose vagueness or ambiguity” allow interpretations which go against Church teaching.