Thompson on Team Francis

At the Spectator Damian Thompson has a blistering piece today about “Team Francis” as he and others have come to call the coterie of henchmen and dogsbodies who possess Casa Santa Marta.

Thompson has come to the conclusion that “the pontificate of ‘The Great Reformer’ has already ended in failure; whether it also ends in disgrace remains to be seen.”

Whether or not you agree with this assessment or not, his Spectator piece is worth a few moments of your time.  It is good to know what is being said on both sides.

The chasm is growing.  The unfortunate division is doing nothing but rapidly increasing.   It seems to me that the sort of acrimonious division we are seeing reveals the influence of the Enemy of Soul at the heart of the Church.  That means that we are balancing on the horns of a dilemma: we can passively allow one side to juggernaut over all opposition, or we can have the fight to halt that juggernaut.

Thompson rightly underscores the role of the media in The Present Crisis.


There are other cases of Francis ignoring gross allegations about his allies. Moreover, the duplicitous pontiff depicted by Viganò is instantly recognisable as the cynical, backstabbing Bergoglio in Henry Sire’s book The Dictator Pope, which — though profoundly hostile to its subject — is based on first-hand testimony from Argentina and Rome. Every Catholic should read it. Why do so many churchmen who knew Bergoglio regard him as a backstabbing cynic? And why does he refuse to set foot in his native country? Forthcoming revelations may enlighten us.

Finally, hardcore papal loyalists known as Team Francis are engaging in Nixonian black ops intended to discredit Viganò and anyone who believes him. Their task is made easier by the fact that the Pope’s critics include anti-gay conspiracy theorists; these can be hard to distinguish from non-bigoted Catholics who quite reasonably suspect that predatory gay clergy conspired to protect each other.

But the team’s one priceless asset is the mainstream media. Since editors no longer employ religious correspondents, and tend to be secular in their outlooks, they are happy to believe that the negative stories against the ‘progressive’ Francis are part of a right-wing conspiracy because he has said kind things about gays and divorce.


Damian references Henry Sire’s book The Dictator Pope.  If you are interested in knowing more:



Also check out Ed Feser’s post


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Pingback: Viganò Watch: Thvrsday Edition – Big Pulpit

  2. maternalView says:

    Love how he tries to nuance the critics.
    Wouldn’t want to say traditional Catholics were right!

    “the Pope’s critics include anti-gay conspiracy theorists; these can be hard to distinguish from non-bigoted Catholics who quite reasonably suspect that predatory gay clergy conspired to protect each other.”

    A distinction without a difference. Because until the moment he wrote that I’m pretty sure anyone who suggested there was a concerted effort to protect “gay” clergy would have been called a bigot.

  3. Chuck4247 says:

    Wait, why isn’t the fact that McCarrick wrote guidelines on how to handle sexual abuse by priests getting more attention?

  4. AveMariaGratiaPlena says:

    I’d avoided reading The Dictator Pope when it first came out, to avoid getting too fired up about the pope, but that was before the McCarrick hit the fan. I can only read so much at a time because it’s so chilling.

    I may be late to the party, but I just found out about – and watched on Amazon Prime – the French investigative documentary “Sex Abuse in the Church: Code of Silence.” It made me ill. And the part where they detail Bergoglio’s machinations in defending an accused (and ultimately convicted & jailed) pedophile priest & making the accuser’s life miserable, and then get close enough to him at a papal event to yell a question at him about it — terrible. It sure looks as though he was falsely denying his involvement.

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