Three years after the election of Pope Francis, Roman Catholic conservatives are growing increasingly worried that he is quietly unraveling the legacy of his predecessors, the Christian Today website reports today (March 12, 2016).
Francis' popularity with most Catholics -- as well as legions of non-Catholics -- has given him the image of a grandfatherly parish priest who understands how difficult it sometimes is to follow Church teachings, particularly those on sexual morality.
Conservatives worry that behind the gentle facade lies a dangerous reformer who is diluting Catholic teaching on moral issues -- including homosexuality and divorce -- while focusing on social problems such as climate change and economic inequality. Francis first shocked conservatives just a few months after his election on March 13, 2013, when he said "Who am I to judge?" about Catholic homosexuals being members of the Church.
In 2014 conservative American Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, 67, told an interviewer that the Church under Francis was like "a ship without a rudder." Francis was not pleased, and that same year demoted Burke to a largely ceremonial post of chaplain of a charity group.