Francis unsettling, and dividing, the Catholic Right

The Vatican of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI operated on a version of the conservative maxim, 'No enemies to the right.' While left-wing theologians were silenced and liberal-to-moderate bishops appeared to be shunted aside, liturgical traditionalists and cultural conservatives were diligently courted.

- The National Catholic Reporter

But in a few short months, Pope Francis has upended that dynamic, alienating many on the Catholic right by refusing to play favorites, and ignoring their preferred agenda items, even as he stressed the kind of social justice issues that are near and dear to progressives.

'I've personally found many aspects of this papacy to be annoying, and struggled against that feeling from the beginning. I'm hardly alone in this,' Jeffrey Tucker, editor of the New Liturgical Movement blog, wrote as Francis basked in the glow of media coverage of his recent trip to Brazil.

'Every day and in every way we are being told how glorious it is that the bad old days are gone and the new good days are here,' he wrote.

Tucker and other traditionalists who are dedicated to high church rituals have been especially miffed at Francis' simple -- they might say simplistic -- style since the moment the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was introduced to the world as the new pope in March.

'How can I love a Pope who doesn't even want to be Pope?' Katrina Fernandez, a conservative blogger, wrote in a column about her disillusionment.

Since Francis' election, the anxiety on the right has only mounted as he has continued to model a radically different pontificate: preaching about the evils of the globalized economy while repeatedly reminding his followers to care for the poor and marginalized.

Indeed, he barely mentioned abortion directly or even gay rights until he was asked about gay priests during an impromptu press conference on the flight back from Brazil and, in a line heard round the world, he said, 'Who am I to judge?'

FULL STORY Pope Francis is unsettling, and dividing, the Catholic right (NCR)

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