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Watch List: Some Questionable Ecclesial Appointments of Pope Francis

This is a partial list of clerics who have been empowered or appointed by Pope Francis despite their objectionable actions or statements. This list may be updated from time to time:

  • Cardinal Walter Kasper, the leading advocate for a “pastoral solution” to provide communion to the divorced and remarried, whom the pope praised before Kasper gave his now infamous address to the Consistory in February of last year. “Yesterday, before falling asleep, though not to fall asleep, I read, or re-read, Cardinal Kasper’s remarks.” Pope Francis said. “I would like to thank him, because I found a deep theology, and serene thoughts in theology. It is nice to read serene theology. It did me well and I had an idea, and excuse me if I embarrass Your Eminence, but the idea is: this is called doing theology while kneeling. Thank you. Thank you.” Kasper has continued to advance the claim that the pope fully supports his proposal, with no correction from the Vatican.
  • Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, who is the Coordinator of Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinal Advisors, has claimed that the Second Vatican Council made peace with the formally-condemned heresy of Modernism; headed up Caritas Internationalis while it held a seat on the governing board of a pro-communist, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual organization; has publicly chastised Cardinal Gerhard Müller for being insufficiently “flexible” when it comes to communion for the divorced and remarried; and has said that we are heading towards a “deep and global renovation” of the Church which will “encompass all of the historical dimensions of the Church” and include “transformation of the institutions” – and further claims that his friend, “The Pope wants to take this Church renovation to the point where it becomes irreversible.”
  • Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, appointed by the pope as the Secretary General of the Synod on the Family, who said, regarding the Kasper proposal, that “dogma has its own evolution,” and has advocated a disciplinary change to the practice regarding communion for the divorced and remarried. Baldisseri was later widely believed to have ordered the theft of Remaining in the Truth of Christ — the so-called “five cardinals” book supporting traditional Catholic teachings on marriage — which disappeared from the mailboxes of some 200 of the Synod participants.
  • Cardinal Donald Wuerl, whom Pope Francis appointed to the Congregation for Bishops after removing Cardinal Burke, disciplined Father Marcel Guarnizo in 2012 for refusing to give communion to a woman who professed to him just before Mass that she was in a homosexual relationship. Wuerl also chastised publicly his “brother bishops” concerned about Pope Francis as guilty of “dissent,” — a transparent swipe at Cardinal Burke — and has refused to enforce Canon 915 against pro-abortion Catholic politicians in his diocese.
  • Bishop Nunzio Galantino of Cassano all’Jonio, whom Pope Francis appointed as the Secretary General of the Italian Bishop’s Conference, said last year in an interview that  “I don’t identify with the expressionless person who stands outside the abortion clinic reciting their rosary, but with young people, who are still against this practice, but are instead fighting for quality of life, their health, their right to work.” and who said that Catholics “have concentrated too much on abortion and euthanasia.” Galantino also said, in the same interview, “my hope for the Italian Church is that it is able to listen without any taboo to the arguments in favor of married priests, the Eucharist for the divorced, and homosexuality.”
  • Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández, who is a friend and close, trusted adviser of Pope Francis. He is, according to Sandro Magister, the ghostwriter both for the pope’s forthcoming ecological encyclical and Evangelii Gaudium. Fernández dismissed the role of the prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in guarding Vatican orthodoxy in a recent interview with Italian paper Corriere della Sera. He said, “I have read that some say that … this Prefect guarantees the unity of the Faith and facilitates serious theology from the Pope. But Catholics know from reading the Gospel that it was to the Pope and the Bishops that Christ granted a special governance and enlightenment — and not to a Prefect or some other structure. When one hears such things, one could almost get the impression that the Pope is merely their representative, or one who has come to disturb and must, therefore, be monitored. […] The Pope is convinced that what he has written or said cannot be treated as an error. Therefore, all these things can be repeated in the future, without having to fear receiving a sanction for it.” Bizarrely, Fernández also wrote a book in 1995 entitled, Heal Me with Your Mouth: The Art of Kissing. Wrote Fernández in the intro to his book, “I want to clarify that this book was not written based on my personal experience but based on the lives of those who kiss.” And: “Therefore I have spoken for a long time to many people who have much experience in this field.”
  • Archbishop Blase Cupichrecently-appointed to the see of Chicago following the death of Cardinal George, was known for being actively hostile to Catholics who loved the Traditional Latin Mass when he was the Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota — physically barring them from the parish where their community had Mass during the Easter Triduum in 2002 — and discouraged his priests from participating in activities coordinated by 40 Days for Life as Bishop of Spokane. Last year, Cupich said on Face the Nation that he would “not use the Eucharist or as they call it the communion rail as the place to have those discussions [with pro-abortion Catholic politicians] or way in which people would be either excluded from the life of the Church.” More recently, Cupich held a joint event in favor of “immigration reform” with Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin – a “Catholic” who has a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood and NARAL. Cupich has said that immigration reform is “God’s agenda.”
  • Bishop Juan Barros, whom Pope Francis appointed to the Diocese of Osorno, Chile in March, has been accused of not just knowing about but watching the sexual abuse perpetrated by his mentor, Fr. Fernando Karadima, who was found guilty in 2011. Even members of the pope’s own anti-abuse commission opposed the installation.
  • Bishop Heiner Koch, appointed June 2015 as the new Archbishop of Berlin, Koch was a participant in the secretive “Shadow Council” in advance of the 2015 Synod on Marriage and Family and is “known for his liberalizing tendencies and sympathies toward homosexual couples, as well as toward ‘remarried’ divorcees. As the German Catholic newspaper, Die Tagespost, reported June 8, for example, Bishop Koch recently said the following: ‘Any bond that strengthens and holds people is in my eyes good; that applies also to same-sex relationships.'” In February, 2015, Koch said in comments to a German newspaper, “To present homosexuality as sin is wounding … I know homosexual pairs that live values such as reliability and responsibility in an exemplary way.”
  • Monsignor Battista Ricca, whom Pope Francis appointed as his “eyes and ears” within the Vatican bank reform process and made head of his residence, the Domus Santa Marthae, was revealed to have had a string of homosexual affairs over his 15 years as a Vatican diplomat, including one with a captain of the Swiss army with whom he lived during a diplomatic post in Uruguay in 1999; another situation in 2001 involved his being caught in a compromising position in an elevator with a local “rent-boy” known to authorities. By all appearances, he remains in his positions following these revelations.
  • Fr. Fidenzio Volpi (Deceased), the apostolic commissioner appointed by Pope Francis to investigate the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculata, brutally suppressed the group for it’s “crypto-lefebvrian bent” (read: they like the TLM) and was later forced to admit that he had fabricated lies about the founder in an Italian court before being removed from the position for health reasons.

In the honorable mention category — not appointed, but nonetheless given elevated status or special favors — we could add these additional names:

  • Father Sean Fagan, who was censured and threatened with laicization by the CDF under Pope Benedict for his heterodox writings on the Church’s sexual teachings, was reinstated as a priest in good standing at the personal intervention of Pope Francis without being asked to publicly recant his earlier work.
  • Fr. (Don) Michele de Paolis, a leading homosexual activist priest in Italy who cofounded a pro-homosexual organization opposed to Church teaching and wrote that “homosexual love is a gift from (God) no less than heterosexual” was honored by Pope Francis when the pontiff publicly concelebrated Mass with him, kissed his hand, and accepted gifts from the heterodox priest – including his latest book.


Last updated 6/10/15

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