A backlash of recent attacks launched by conservatives against Pope Francis -- led largely by German and American bishops who fear the pope may be overturning centuries of doctrine on divorce and other matters -- is now driving talk of a schism within the Roman Catholic Church, the LA Times website reports today (April 18, 2017).
Cardinal Gerhard Mueller -- the pope's own doctrinal chief -- made it clear in an interview in February that he firmly opposed Francis' tinkering with the church's ban on divorced and civilly remarried Catholics taking Communion.
Francis has implied that the ban on Communion could be relaxed. But Mueller told "Il Timone," an Italian Catholic publication: "No power in heaven or on earth, neither an angel, nor the pope, nor a council of the bishops, has the faculty to change it."
For conservative Catholics, this was another reason to feel aggrieved, after Francis suggested in 2015 that Lutherans could receive Catholic Communion, and when asked about gay people in 2013, said, "Who am I to judge?"