The London Times newspaper is reporting that a group of cardinals who supported Pope Francis now want him to resign and be replaced by Cardinal Pietro Parolin because they fear his reforms will cause a schism “more disastrous” than the Reformation. The Times article draws on a report by the Vatican expert Antonio Socci, a prominent Italian Catholic journalist.
Antonio Socci reports that it is the curial faction of the Holy See that backed the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio out of “impatience with the rule of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI” that now wants Pope Francis to resign out of fear of an impending schism. The Times reports:
A large part of the cardinals who voted for him is very worried and the curia . . . that organised his election and has accompanied him thus far, without ever disassociating itself from him, is cultivating the idea of a moral suasion to convince him to retire.
It was the latter faction who now believed that the Pope should resign and who would like to replace him with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state, Mr Socci said. He believed that the group numbered around a dozen, but the importance of the members counts more than their number. Four years after Benedict XVI’s renunciation and Bergoglio’s arrival on the scene, the situation of the Catholic church has become explosive, perhaps really on the edge of a schism, which could be even more disastrous than Luther’s [who is today being rehabilitated by the Bergoglio church].
The cardinals are worried that the church could be shattered as an institution. There are many indirect ways in which the pressure might be exerted.
An expert on the Vatican gave this assessment of the latest development:
A good number of the majority that voted for Bergoglio in 2013 have come to regret their decision, but I don’t think it’s plausible that members of the hierarchy will pressure the Pope to resign. Those who know him know it would be useless. [He] has a very authoritarian streak. He won’t resign until he has completed his revolutionary reforms, which are causing enormous harm.
Antonio Socci reports that the significance of this development is that the group who want Pope Francis to resign are not the “conservative” cardinals who have opposed the Holy Father’s innovations, “What was significant, he said, was that the doubters were not the conservative cardinals who had been in open opposition to the Pope since early in his reign.”