Challenges and Controversies: Pope Francis Faces Schisms, Trials, and Social Issues Amidst Papal Duties

Featured & Cover Challenges and Controversies Pope Francis Faces Schisms Trials and Social Issues Amidst Papal Duties

It has been thirty-six years since Monsignor Marcel Lefebvre ordained four Bishops without papal mandate, an act that led to their excommunication, lifted by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009 out of mercy. During those years, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, was pursuing studies in Germany and later served in Buenos Aires before becoming Auxiliary Bishop of the Argentine capital. Today, as the 266th Successor of Peter, Pope Francis faces decisions regarding the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, particularly an announcement from its Superior, Father Benoît de Jorna.

On June 30, 1988, Monsignor Lefebvre justified the ordination of four Auxiliary Bishops as crucial for preserving Catholic Tradition, a move Father de Jorna now seeks to expand by preparing successors. This decision anticipates backlash, with media likely to paint them as “fundamentalists,” “rebels,” or “schismatics.” According to canon law, any ordination without papal approval, similar to Monsignor Lefebvre’s, incurs automatic excommunication not just for the ordainer but also the ordained and co-consecrators.

Another challenge facing Pope Francis involves accusations from former Nuncio Carlo Maria Vigano, who faces a canonical trial for alleged schism due to his criticisms of Pope Francis and Vatican II. Vigano, dismissing the trial, views the accusations as affirming his stance against what he terms the ideological and theological issues within the Church.

Meanwhile, in Spain, the Poor Clare nuns of Belorado have declared a schism, rejecting Vatican II and Francis as Pope. They have refused to appear before the Ecclesiastical Court of Burgos, opting instead for negotiation to resolve the dispute over their convent’s ownership.

In India, the Syro-Malabar Rite has seen a significant schism over liturgical practices, despite attempts by Pope Francis to intervene and restore unity. Failure to comply with the Pope’s directives could lead to excommunication for a large segment of the Syro-Malabar Catholics.

Adding to the Pope’s challenges, businessman Raffaele Mincione’s legal dispute with the Vatican has escalated to the United Nations, potentially tarnishing the Holy See’s reputation in legal matters. Moreover, Pope Francis faced criticism for his remarks on homosexuality during a virtual event, where a Filipino student challenged him to support LGBTQIA+ rights and cease using offensive language.

Amid these trials, Pope Francis also mourns the loss of his Confessor, underscoring the personal toll amidst his papal duties. Despite these difficulties, the Pope continues to address critical issues such as the role of women in the Church, Canon Law reforms, and the global economy, as discussed in recent meetings with his advisors.

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