Posters of a stern-looking Pope Francis have appeared around Rome citing his actions against conservative Catholics and asking: "Where's your mercy?" the Press Herald reports.
The posters appeared on the same day that Francis named Vatican Substitute Archbishop Angelo Becciu as his special delegate to the Knights of Malta.
The Vatican's intervention with the charitable order had provided fuel for Francis's conservative critics, who until Saturday had for the most part largely confined their concern with his mercy-over-morals papacy to blogs, interviews and conferences.
On Saturday, dozens of posters appeared around Rome featuring a stern-looking Francis and referencing the "decapitation" of the Knights and other actions he has taken against tradition-minded groups.
Within hours, the city of Rome had plastered over the posters. Police launched an investigation into the conservative circles believed responsible, aided by closed-circuit cameras, the ANSA news agency said.
The posters, written in Roman dialect, also cited the way Francis had "ignored cardinals", a reference to the four cardinals who have publicly asked him to clarify whether divorced and civilly remarried Catholics can receive Holy Communion.
Papal advisers largely seemed unfazed by the posters, with one, Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, saying they’re “a sign that he’s doing well and causing A LOT of annoyance,” Crux adds. In a subsequent tweet, Fr Spadaro said, “They’re trying to separate him from the heart of the people, but the effect is the opposite!”
Catholic conservatives level criticism against Pope (Press Herald)
Pope Francis poster (AP Photo/Beatrice Larco)