Follow usTwitterFacebook


09 Oct 2015 Americas News No comments

For Cubans, the Pope’s visit brought hope - but will it last?

After Pope Francis’ visit as a “missionary of mercy,” Cuba is now in a prime moment to move forward in its relationship with the Church and work for the common …

Read more

11 Apr 2016 Vatican No comments

Pope Francis apostolic Exhortation - Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love)

Divorced-and-remarried Catholics need the fullness of Church teaching, a wise pastoral and community response to their difficulties that can help them grow in t…

Read more

09 Aug 2016 News Comments (1)

Pro-life charity welcomes opening of maternity clinic for rape survivors

The My Body Back clinic, based at the Royal London Hospital, provides extra support to women who have experienced sexual violence A pro-life charity has welcom…

Read more

02 Nov 2014 Articles Comments (1)

What Catholics Believe about John 6

For millions of non-Catholic Christians, Jesus was using pure symbolism in John 6:53 when he declared to his followers, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you …

Read more

12 Aug 2016 News No comments

Bangladeshi Catholic editor flees country in fear of her life

Rosaline Costa had faced harassment and threats – when she went to police they would not even file a report Rosaline Costa heard people tell her “be careful” s…

Read more

02 Jun 2015 Q&A No comments

Why are there so many religious orders? Can anybody join?

Full Question Can you explain the purpose of having different religious orders within the Church (e.g., Franciscans, Dominicans)? Do all priests belong to …

Read more

13 Dec 2014 Q&A Comments (2)

How do we counter the charge that the addition of "filioque" was an illicit alteration of the Creed?

Full Question Some Eastern Orthodox claim that the Catholic Church is under anathema because it added the word filioque("and the Son") to the Nicene Creed …

Read more

28 Jan 2016 News Vatican Comments (2)

Oscar-nominated actor, Leonardo DiCaprio meets with Pope Francis

The pontiff met with a fellow green advocate earlier today: Leonardo DiCaprio. The Oscar-nominated actor had an audience with Pope Francis at about 11.15 am tod…

Read more

04 Mar 2016 Australia News No comments

95-year-old priest along with hundreds of Catholic faithful on foot for dozens of kilometers for Penitential Walk

Despite his slight hunchback attributed his old age, this 95-year-old priest named Friar Roberto was on foot for dozens of kilometers while hearing confessions …

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Catholic liberals in Italy launch petition to back Pope Francis

Amid a robust Italian debate over the leadership of Pope Francis, a cross-section of liberal Catholic groups in the country has launched an online petition to show backing for the Argentinian pontiff.

Pointedly called “Stop the Attacks on Pope Francis,” the petition was launched on Christmas Day by groups including “We are Church,” “Blessed are the Peacemakers,” the Edith Stein Study Center, an Italian association of theologians, and a variety of base communities. All are generally associated with the liberal wing of the Italian Church.

The petition is also signed by the Rev. Luigi Ciotti of Turin, one of Italy’s best known anti-Mafia priests, and the Rev. Alex Zanotelli, a Combonian missionary priest and a well-known social activist.

As of Jan. 3, the petition had attracted close to 2,500 signatures, toward a goal of 50,000.

The current Italian row over Francis began when one of the country’s most renowned Catholic journalists, Vittorio Messori, published a front-page essay on Dec. 24 in Corriere della Sera stating his “perplexity” over what he sees as the pontiff’s contradictions.

Among other things, Messori faulted Francis for sometimes sending signals that the Catholic Church is no more than an “optional accessory” in the spiritual life, for reaching out to political leaders whose agenda is contrary to Church teaching, and for pursuing an uncritical dialogue with leaders of Protestant movements that are draining people away from Catholicism in Latin America.


According to the petition, which was launched the day after the essay appeared, Messori’s critique was a “true declaration of war” and expressed the leading edge of a deeply entrenched anti-Francis backlash.

“The arrival of Francis has provoked frantic reactions with the Vatican Curia, which, decimated by scandals and corruption, considers the pope a foreign body in its systems of alliances with worldly power, fueled by two perverse instruments: money and sex,” the petition asserts.

“At first the chatter about a ‘strange pope’ began quietly, but then it became steadily louder and clearer,” the petition asserts.

Among other things, the petition cites a book issued shortly before last October’s Synod of Bishops on the family, in which five cardinals — Gerhard Müller of Germany, the Vatican’s doctrinal czar; American Raymond Burke, former head of the Vatican’s supreme court; Walter Brandmüller of Germany, and Italians Carlo Caffara and Velasio De Paolis — came out against the idea of allowing divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion.

That book, according to the petition, “reinforced the front of adversaries who see in Pope Francis a danger that must be blocked at all costs.”

“We oppose these maneuvers, expressions of a conservatism that often has impeded the church from fulfilling its only true responsibility of spreading the gospel,” the petition says.


Pope Francis at a meeting with young people at the Sanctuary of Castelpetroso in Campobasso, Italy in July. A prominent Italian writer says the pope’s unpredictability has caused the cardinals who elected him to have second thoughts and has confused average Catholics. (Franco Origlia, Getty Images)
Italian writer stirs a hornet’s nest with doubts about Pope Francis
Petition supporting Pope Francis circulating in the US
“We cannot stay silent, and with force we shout that we’re on the side of Pope Francis,” the petition says. “We want to create a crown around him of support and prayer, of affection and convinced solidarity.”

According to the petition, Francis has the support of “the church of ordinary people, of the parishes, of the sidewalks.”

In a Jan. 3 essay in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Ciotti wrote that he signed the petition even if “certain expressions are a little strong,” above all because he feels that sometimes Francis does not receive “adequate support.”

“It’s evident,” Ciotti wrote, that Francis’ style generates “bewilderment and alarm” in some quarters. Yet, he said, Francis is “giving the church back the credibility that comes above all from a complete purification of [claims to] power, and full consistency with the Word of God.”

In October, an organization called “Faithful America” launched a similar on-line petition of support for Pope Francis in the United States, in that case related to language in an interim report from the Synod of Bishops on the family regarding a welcoming attitude to gays and lesbians and those living together outside of marriage. That effort has garnered close to 35,000 supporters.

By John L. Allen Jr.



  1. Chris Cornish Reply

    As a Catholic I am sick of all the in fighting between this faction and that faction both have an agenda to push and they care about nothing but that agenda. The choice is simple unlike the FAITH which is a gift and it is given to us through no merit of our own ; the time has go to make the decision support the HOLY

  2. francisca Reply

    Leave the pope alone Pharisee

Leave a Reply

  1. most read post
  2. Most Commented
  3. Choose Categories