Vladimir Putin is linked to opposition to Pope

Vladimir Putin is linked to opposition to Pope Francis, says Andrea Tornielli.

Tornielli has been described as the Pope’s favourite journalist.

He made the the suggestion in an article co-written with Giacomo Galeazzi for the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

It is headlined “Catholics who are anti-Francis but love Putin”.

They quote sociologist Massimo Introvigne as saying: “It is the mythical idealization of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is presented as a ‘good’ leader in contrast to the ‘bad’ leader, the Pope, because of his stance on homosexual people, Muslims and immigrants.

“Russian foundations that have strong ties with Putin co-operate with the anti-Francis opposition.”

They also describe various organisations and individuals who have expressed scepticism about Pope Francis.

They say “people and groups that are very different among them” are united by their unease about Francis.

They also say opposition is not just expressed by traditionalists.

It is also expressed by “bishops and theologians who were trained according to the Ratzinger and Wojtyla schools of thought”.

They back this point by saying Francis has replaced priests and theologians with others who are sympathetic to his views.

Both Tornielli and Galeazzisay believe opposition to the Pope is partly theological and partly political.

They say political opposition especially concerns the Vatican’s increasing efforts to improve diplomatic relations with China.

One person they interviewed, historian Agostino Giovagnoli, mentions in particular the website Asia News.

Fr Bernardo Cervellera, the editor-in-chief of Asia News, has responded strongly to the article, describing it as “false”, “unfounded” and a “lie” to list his website as opposing the Pope.

Fr Cervellera says his website reports “all aspects, be they complex or contradictory, of a given event” and that they cannot ignore China’s underground Christians, who are suffering for their faith “and who now, suddenly, have disappeared from public concerns”.

Fr Cervellera says the La Stampa article, by assembling a “blacklist” of opponents, actually does not help the Pope: “You can also betray a person with too much applause,” he writes.



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