Italian historian goes to the zoo about Francis and “resistance”.

I don’t know what Riccardi is smoking, but it ain’t maduro.

From Vatican Insider.  This is a few days old.  I am just getting to it now.

Riccardi: “Here’s who’s standing up to Pope Francis”

“Vatican Insider” interviews Italian historian Andrea Riccardi: [He is the fellow who started up the Sant’Egidio initiative in Rome.  Liberals are nuts for him and dream of his Nobel Prize.] “The famous honeymoon period has not ended, a sign that the relationship between Francis and faithful is more than just a passing attraction. But there is defiance from bishops and the clergy” [There is?]

Never before in the 20th century has a Pope faced so much resistance as Francis has[?!?] and “the fact that there is so much resistance shows that the Pope really is changing the Church.” These strong and in some ways surprising words came from Professor of Church history, Andrea Riccardi, in his latest commentary published in Italian weekly magazine Famiglia Cristiana. Vatican Insider asked him some questions about his above remarks.

You wrote that no Pope in the last century has faced so much resistance as Francis. Don’t you think that’s a bit of an exaggeration?
“I made these observations as a historian. Francis is facing internal opposition from within ecclesiastical bodies, the episcopates and the clergy. [Is he psychic? Where is this resistance?] But his alliance with the people is clearly strong.”

What about the opposition to Paul VI and the recent and famous opposition faced by Benedict XVI?
“The only Pope who faced strong opposition was Paul VI, that’s true. [?!?] But the Church and also society at the time were going through a period of general protest. In the case of Benedict XVI, which you rightly mentioned, the opposition came form the outside, from the international public, than it did from the inside. As I said, the resistance Francis is facing is stronger and it’s coming from within the Church.”  [This is absurd on the face of it. Popes John Paul and Benedict faced far greater, far more deeply entrenched resistance FROM LIBERALS than Francis is facing from conservatives or traditionalists.   Faithful Catholics tend to love their Popes.  Only a few cranks on the fringes openly attack Francis, and they are in no way able to offer “resistance”.]

Could you give some examples?
“Some resistance has been public, whilst in other cases it has been muttered or not expressed at all, [ahhhh…. yes… secret resistance.  The sort of resistance that is never openly expressed.  Now I get it.] if not through silence and detachment. There are some who can’t stand it when papal preaching insists even slightly on ethical issues. [D’ya think?] But then there’s Francis’ pastoral approach which calls bishops’ method of leadership into question as they hear people asking: “Why don’t you do as the Pope does?” I don’t want to generalise too much but I am certain that there is resistance. [No, please!  Don’t generalize too much.  And if you are “certain“… well!  That’s that, then.] Francis laid down his thoughts and the areas that needed to be worked on and changed, in the first six months of his pontificate. Unlike Paul VI who was a man of many words and tried to make balanced statements. Resistance comes from those who don’t want to be questioned and are averse to change.”


This is ludicrous.  Only in Italy do you find this sort of thing.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. OrthodoxChick says:

    “I don’t know what Riccardi is smoking, but it ain’t maduro.”

    I’ll say. More like il tabacco strambo di Roma.

  2. McCall1981 says:

    I think the liberals are starting to realize that Francis isn’t the heretic they want him to be, and rather than admit they were wrong, the narrative will shift to saying that Francis still is super liberal but is being prevented from doing what he wants.

    Check this out from Card. O’Malley today:

    Cardinal O’Malley: ‘The Church Will Not Change Her Teaching on Marriage’

    When they don’t get what they want from the Synod, it will be because Francis was “prevented” from from doing what he wants. They wont consider the possibility that Francis is simply Catholic.

  3. Eliane says:

    “This is ludicrous. Only in Italy do you find this sort of thing.”

    Don’t forget Kansas City.

  4. Bosco says:

    Nice cross-examination, Father Z. The only thing missing from this Riccardi ‘interview’ is the relevant who, what, where, when, why?
    Puff piece.

  5. iPadre says:

    Another wacko trying to stir division in the Church! Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia!

  6. incredulous says:

    Thus Spake Fr. Z: “This is ludicrous. Only in Italy do you find this sort of thing.”

    Beloved Father has given up Nightly “News”?!

    Being of Italian heritage… Methinks he’s being unfair. ;). Lol.

  7. RJHighland says:

    You don’t find this stuff just in Rome or Kansas City, you find this kind of thing just about everywhere at varying degrees in the Church, can’t see the wheat because of all the tares. I think somebody needs truly take on the role of Alter Christus to start flipping tables and whipping these prelates around at the Synod get these princes of the Church on the right page. But I think the laity and most of the priests and bishops would call for him to be crucified. The Church has become the 1st century Jewish community and Sanhedrin. The Gates of Hell have not yet over come it but we are at the gates, their agents are inside our walls, the ground is shaking, the Church is filled with smoke and there is a whole lot of confussion, Lord hear our prayers.

  8. Sonshine135 says:

    This is just silly. He couldn’t cite a single tangible example. I tire of these wacky and unfounded allegations.

  9. Polycarpio says:

    Given the clear, um, let’s say “aversion,” that I sense when I read the comments posted here, alone, I would not be at all surprised if there was opposition to Pope Francis in some quarters of the hierarchy and, therefore, I do not find it, on its face, implausible, that there would be some “internal opposition from within ecclesiastical bodies, the episcopates and the clergy” to Francis. I agree that the claim advanced is lacking specifics. But that could be because Riccardi wants to protect his sources. It also seems quite natural that, if any “opposition” or “resistance” were to be secret and discrete, it would be here, precisely for the reasons Father notes (“Faithful Catholics tend to love their Popes”). Not all information is public, and it is not necessary for claims to be true that they be based on publicly available information. After all, Francis himself reported that he had been “reprimanded” for his approach (in that case, not speaking out enough about abortion). I don’t think it’s ludicrous.

  10. Eugene says:

    As a native Italian I can say I agree with Father’s comment “only in Italy”, because there are many liberal professors who have an agenda to push..oh wait is it really only in Italy

  11. Widukind says:

    Considering this possible opposition, in view of the relationship between Francis and Benedict (the Ganswein article), may be something providential is taking place. If the opposition that Francis faces / will face, is of such magnitude, why would not there be someone to have Francis’ back? Why are we so fortunate to have two such people, at this time? The two are sort of a “papal tag team”, the members of which compliment one another: Francis the heart and Benedict the mind; action and reflection; cunning and wisdom; snake and dove. Maybe this “dynamic duo” – “Pontifex Maximus and Dulas” (calling out “Ecclesia” !) has been assembled because the enemy lurking in the shadows is a big one ?

  12. Bosco says:

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but the operative word is ‘opposition’. As with any rational discussion, the terms must be clearly defined from the outset otherwise you’re just spinning your rhetorical wheels round and round.
    Riccardi’s claim lack specifics because in order to do so one must define what one means by ‘opposition’. I know that sounds cyclical, but there it is.
    Once one defines what ‘opposition’ to Francis consists of then one has to cite chapter and verse and name names, which Riccardi clearly cannot do without divulging his own personal take on ecclesiastical doings.

  13. Kathleen10 says:

    Liberals love to control, and they adore an open fight because they have so many drones to support them. To perceive some reservations on the part of conservatives and not have it openly expressed must gall them to no end. He seems to be demonstrating his frustration with what he can’t get his hands on, a direct confrontation. Only liberals would mutter about “silence and detachment”, as if that’s a crime. And yes, he’s “certain” there is resistance. That’s the end of that debate then. He proved his case. But for some people this passes for proof.

  14. Vecchio di Londra says:

    What an embarrassing car-crash of an interview. Most editors would bin it, most journalists would pretend the tape got deleted by accident.
    It’s true that academics are given a lot of leeway for their loonier ramblings by journalists in Italy (and as Eugene implies, not just in Italy). But in this case it looks as if Tornielli (who is no fool) has got rather fed up with Riccardi and wants to show him up.

  15. pjthom81 says:

    All I can say is….ever feel like you’re being provoked?

    The Liberals seem to need resistance…if they don’t have it then all of their 1960’s birthed narratives of themselves might be (perish the thought)…wrong!

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