Attacks against pope aim to influence next conclave

Attacks against Pope Francis are “a fight between those who want the church dreamed of by the Second Vatican Council and those who do not want this,” says the Superior General of the Jesuits.

Commenting on various issues where the Pope is currently under attack from his critics, Arturo Sosa SJ says there is no doubt there’s a political fight going on in the church.

This isn’t just against Francis and his convictions. He won’t change and his critics know it, Sosa says.

“In reality, these [attacks] are a way to influence the election of the next pope.”

As Francis is 82, Sosa says his critics are aiming at the succession.

They “…know that it takes a long time, more than 50 years, to really implement the Second Vatican Council.”

One of the points of friction is clericalism – that is, a way of understanding the exercise of power in the church.

“Francis is fighting against clericalism and this exercise of power”. He “proposes a synodal church,” which encourages greater collegiality and participation in decision making,” Sosa says.

“Pope Francis is a son of the Second Vatican Council.”

As he is a responsible son, Sosa says “Francis puts all his energy and capacity to incarnate it and to make a reality all that this event has dreamed for the church, and it seems to me that this is a great contribution to the church.”

Francis believes the church shows “true reform” the “closer it comes to the design of the Second Vatican Council.”

There have always been those who support and those who resist the Council’s reforms, Sosa notes.

But the 50 years since the Council “is not so much” in terms of implementing its reforms in the church, he says.

Unlike those who criticised Francis’s first two synods and the upcoming one on the Amazon, Sosa believes Francis’s synodal process “creates unity.”

He said he witnessed this at the synod on young people, and he is now seeing it also in the process of preparation for the synod on the Amazon region.


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