The tables have turned under Pope Francis, as a new type of Catholic has formed, who can be called "the conservative dissenter," the Religion News website reports today (April 20, 2018).
In the past, conservatives prided themselves on loyalty to the pope and being in lockstep with all papal teachings, while progressives called for limits to papal power.
While the John Paul II and Benedict XVI papacies had liberal theologians arguing that popes should govern more collaboratively, traditionalist critics of the current pope "have become reluctant to accept papal teaching (in its contents and forms) only with Francis," said Villanova University theology professor Massimo Faggioli.
In the recently published book "To Change the Church," Ross Douthat compares Francis to President Trump, arguing the pope is seeking to push through changes without thinking about the consequences. "The story could end with Francis as its hero," Douthat writes. "But to choose a path that might have only two destinations -- hero or heretic -- is an act of great and dangerous presumption, even for a pope..."