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Beginning of a ‘tough period’ for Pope Francis

December 3rd, 2014
06:40 PM ET

By Madalena Araujo, CNN

Pope Francis faces a tough road ahead, a veteran Vatican watcher told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview that aired Wednesday.

“It’s a very tough period that is beginning for him, because of course people [are] enthusiastic about him. I mean the believers but also non-believers are very interested in what he’s saying. But within the Church, there is a tough group of conservative of bishops and priests and cardinals, and also very traditionalist bishops and cardinals who are practically against the Pope, who are working against the Pope,” Marco Politi said. ​

The growing opposition the Pope is encountering within his own Church is mainly down to his attempts to reform it since he took office in March 2013.

“They don’t like what he wanted to do with the synod about family, to give new possibilities to remarried and divorced people to get the communion, or to have a new look on the homosexual union.”

Politi’s latest book "Francis Among the Wolves” looks into this resistance.

“Saint Francis of Assisi once met a wolf; he preached to him and he domesticated the wolf. But what we are seeing after one and a half year is that the wolves in the Vatican or in the bishops’ conferences actually are becoming more and more aggressive.”

The Pope’s divisive moves include the recent demotion of U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who strongly opposed his initiative to soften the Church’s tone on homosexuality.

“Of course he’s reshuffling a little bit in the Curia but he does it very slowly, and he’s very gentle in this sense. His idea is that it is good that people speaks out, so when somebody comes to him and says ‘but this Cardinal is critical against you,’ he say ‘it’s good.’

Whether he’ll be able to move forward with his reformist agenda “is still a very open game.”

“And we don’t know whether he’ll succeed in October 2015 to have a true, strong majority in order to push through the idea of giving after a period of penance, the Eucharistic to the divorced and remarried, and to have a new look to the common life of homosexual couples.”

This “game,” Politi added, “is played now like in the political life.”

“For instance, in the last weeks there were rumors, completely without any reason, but there were rumors that he would resign quickly. This is a typical political atmosphere like House of Cards.”

Politi joined Amanpour in Rome following a ground-breaking event at the Vatican that brought together leaders of the world’s major faiths, who signed a joint declaration to end modern slavery by 2020.

The veteran Vatican analyst said that modern slavery is “the great concern of Pope Francis because he’s convinced that the slavery issue doesn’t refer only to the third world countries, but it’s a hot issue also in the Western developed counties.”

“And his aim is [for] human traffic to be declared [a] crime against humanity by the United Nations.”

Filed under:  Catholic Church • Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Religion
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