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In this time of turmoil, the editors of National Review asked five Catholic writers to weigh in.
In the most recent issue of National Review (“The Case against Pope Francis,” October 29, 2018), NR senior writer Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote, “The Francis pontificate was to be an era of mercy for sinners at the peripheries and accountability for malefactors at the Vatican. Instead, almost the opposite has taken place.” According to Dougherty, the Roman Catholic Church’s “twin scandals” — the calamitous handling and coverup of clerical sexual abuse, and the the pope’s efforts to foment a “Theological Revolution” on sex, marriage, and the sacraments — have exposed deep divisions within the Church. In this time of turmoil, the editors of National Review asked five eminent thinkers to weigh in.
Conservatives - Pope - Makeweight - Threat - Disorder
Conservatives have usually viewed the pope as a moral makeweight against the constant threat of social and political disorder. The papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI sought to reassure the world that the Church was indeed a bulwark against “the dictatorship of relativism.” Even as Michael Brendan Dougherty provocatively makes “The Case against Pope Francis,” his working assumption is simply that this is not how things are supposed to go: Popes are not supposed to resign, nor are bishops supposed to “make a mess.” Dougherty’s claim that the Holy Father promotes men who are “morally compromised and doctrinally suspect” is a lament that the Church is suffering because of a fundamental weakness in its hierarchy that runs from top to bottom. After the “summer of shame” the case for its being morally compromised hardly needs to be made. About those men trained as priests in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s (those darkest of decades), it’s tempting to say the whole generation is compromised. But what if that’s true yet also misleads...
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