Is Pope Francis safe amid a Dan Brown Vatican thriller setting?

OPINION Is Pope Francis, the first Latino pontiff in Roman Catholic Church history, the target of a conspiracy right out of the pages of a Dan Brown Vatican thiller novel involving secret societies? Should the pope’s security be intensified? Should he travel to the Philippines this month or to the United States in September? Could Francis be at risk because of the current attacks against the pope for taking on the church bureaucracy – the criticism of the Curia and questioning the operation of the Vatican bank? SEE ALSO: 9 Reasons why Pope Francis deserves the Nobel  All the flak that the pope has been taking recently, promoted by some Catholic conservatives upset with the direction that Francis is leading the church, have created a growing concern among the faithful. They fear that the danger is no longer limited to Islamic State terrorists who last year set their sights on Pope Francis and threatened to harm harm because of his attempts to rally the world to subdue the group. In the 22 months since the start of his papacy in 2013, Francis has provoked frantic reactions within the scandal and corruption-plagued Vatican Curia, where many reportedly consider the pope a meddling outsider who has unmasked its two perverse instruments of shame — money and sex. “Within the Church, there is a tough group of conservative bishops and priests and cardinals, and also very traditionalist bishops and cardinals who are practically against the Pope, who are working against the Pope,” veteran Vatican watcher Marco Politi told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview. “They don’t like what he wanted to do with the synod about family, to give new possibilities to remarried and divorced people to get the communion, or to have a new look on the homosexual union.” The concerns among some of Francis’ supporters is heightened by the fact that there is still another pontiff in Rome — Benedict XVI, who became the first pope in six centuries to resign, and who could unwittingly undermine his successor. “Benedict is hanging back for now, but there’s no doubt that he could easily become a figurehead for traditionalists harkening back to the good old days,” warned Notre Dame New Testament professor Candida Moss and Joel Baden, Old Testament professor at Yale Divinity School, in a Daily Beast column last November. A recent story in The National, an Abu Dhabi English-language publication even reported that, “The pontiff has reportedly become the target of a wide range of groups from mobsters to ISIL to rich Catholics all the while shunning efforts by his security team to keep him a safe distance from the faithful. It makes for a Dan Brown novel dark scenario that inevitably raises eye-brows. Could any of that hasten any revolt, especially since Pope Francis jolted Vatican staff and conservativess when he listed 15 “ailments” of the Curia during his annual Christmas greetings to the cardinals, bishops and priests who run the central administration of the world’s 1.2-billion member Catholic Church? Pope Francis has also said he would like to “open the doors” to the divorced and remarried, saying they must be “integrated” into church life. Clearly, Francis’ style has rubbed many traditionalists the wrong way, starting with his more humble approach to the papacy, and his comments on social issues that have ruffled feathers. The pope has also visibly shunned the display of Vatican wealth, from refusing to wear the velvet red slippers of the office to driving a Ford Focus, instead of a luxury car. In visits to St. Peter’s Square, he has been known to embrace and kiss visitors who are severely disfigured and he has said of gay members of the clergy, “Who am I to judge?” Last month, Pope Francis even dismissed the head of Swiss Guards who protect the Vatican. The pope complained about the Swiss Guards commander’s excessively strict, authoritarian style and of his refurbishment of a luxurious penthouse apartment for his family above the Swiss Guards’ barracks in the Vatican. In the U.S. there have been reports of Pope Francis having irritated wealthy conservatives, and of billionaire investors threatening to withhold their millions from church and charity unless the pontiff stops preaching against the “excesses and cruelty of unleashed capitalism.” According to reports, some rich donors have even appeared to lose their enthusiasm for the restoration of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. Still, others — including Catholics in South Florida where there are strong feelings against the Castros — have been upset with Francis for the significant role that he apparently played in brokering the normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba. “I’m still Catholic till the day I die,” Efrain Rivas, a 53-year-old Miami maintenance worker who was a political prisoner in Cuba for 16 years, was quoted in news reports, “but I am a Catholic without a pope.” In the Philippines recently, officials have announced that sniper teams will be posted on high-rise buildings when the pope visits later this month – and that the airspace in the cities he tours will be cleared of all aircraft, with 6,000 to 7,000 soldiers to be deployed. SEE ALSO: Pope Francis helped make U.S.-Cuba deal a reality In his native Argentina, some faithful have even called on the pope to don a bulletproof vest as he did in 2009 while serving as the archbishop of Buenos Aires as then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio. But Federico Wals, who worked closely with Francis in the Buenos Aires archdiocese, says no threat will alter the pope’s mission. “He complained about (the bullet proof vest) being uncomfortable after using it once,” he recalled, “and decided not to use it again.”The post Is Pope Francis safe amid a Dan Brown Vatican thriller setting? appeared first on Voxxi.

Pope Francis’ style has rubbed many traditionalists the wrong way. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

OPINION

Is Pope Francis, the first Latino pontiff in Roman Catholic Church history, the target of a conspiracy right out of the pages of a Dan Brown Vatican thiller novel involving secret societies?

Should the pope’s security be intensified? Should he travel to the Philippines this month or to the United States in September? Could Francis be at risk because of the current attacks against the pope for taking on the church bureaucracy – the criticism of the Curia and questioning the operation of the Vatican bank?

SEE ALSO: 9 Reasons why Pope Francis deserves the Nobel 

All the flak that the pope has been taking recently, promoted by some Catholic conservatives upset with the direction that Francis is leading the church, have created a growing concern among the faithful.

They fear that the danger is no longer limited to Islamic State terrorists who last year set their sights on Pope Francis and threatened to harm harm because of his attempts to rally the world to subdue the group.

In the 22 months since the start of his papacy in 2013, Francis has provoked frantic reactions within the scandal and corruption-plagued Vatican Curia, where many reportedly consider the pope a meddling outsider who has unmasked its two perverse instruments of shame — money and sex.

“Within the Church, there is a tough group of conservative bishops and priests and cardinals, and also very traditionalist bishops and cardinals who are practically against the Pope, who are working against the Pope,” veteran Vatican watcher Marco Politi told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview.

“They don’t like what he wanted to do with the synod about family, to give new possibilities to remarried and divorced people to get the communion, or to have a new look on the homosexual union.”

The concerns among some of Francis’ supporters is heightened by the fact that there is still another pontiff in Rome — Benedict XVI, who became the first pope in six centuries to resign, and who could unwittingly undermine his successor.

“Benedict is hanging back for now, but there’s no doubt that he could easily become a figurehead for traditionalists harkening back to the good old days,” warned Notre Dame New Testament professor Candida Moss and Joel Baden, Old Testament professor at Yale Divinity School, in a Daily Beast column last November.

A recent story in The National, an Abu Dhabi English-language publication even reported that, “The pontiff has reportedly become the target of a wide range of groups from mobsters to ISIL to rich Catholics all the while shunning efforts by his security team to keep him a safe distance from the faithful.

It makes for a Dan Brown novel dark scenario that inevitably raises eye-brows.

Could any of that hasten any revolt, especially since Pope Francis jolted Vatican staff and conservativess when he listed 15 “ailments” of the Curia during his annual Christmas greetings to the cardinals, bishops and priests who run the central administration of the world’s 1.2-billion member Catholic Church?

Pope Francis has also said he would like to “open the doors” to the divorced and remarried, saying they must be “integrated” into church life.

Clearly, Francis’ style has rubbed many traditionalists the wrong way, starting with his more humble approach to the papacy, and his comments on social issues that have ruffled feathers.

The pope has also visibly shunned the display of Vatican wealth, from refusing to wear the velvet red slippers of the office to driving a Ford Focus, instead of a luxury car.

In visits to St. Peter’s Square, he has been known to embrace and kiss visitors who are severely disfigured and he has said of gay members of the clergy, “Who am I to judge?”

Last month, Pope Francis even dismissed the head of Swiss Guards who protect the Vatican. The pope complained about the Swiss Guards commander’s excessively strict, authoritarian style and of his refurbishment of a luxurious penthouse apartment for his family above the Swiss Guards’ barracks in the Vatican.

In the U.S. there have been reports of Pope Francis having irritated wealthy conservatives, and of billionaire investors threatening to withhold their millions from church and charity unless the pontiff stops preaching against the “excesses and cruelty of unleashed capitalism.”

According to reports, some rich donors have even appeared to lose their enthusiasm for the restoration of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan.

Still, others — including Catholics in South Florida where there are strong feelings against the Castros — have been upset with Francis for the significant role that he apparently played in brokering the normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba.

“I’m still Catholic till the day I die,” Efrain Rivas, a 53-year-old Miami maintenance worker who was a political prisoner in Cuba for 16 years, was quoted in news reports, “but I am a Catholic without a pope.”

In the Philippines recently, officials have announced that sniper teams will be posted on high-rise buildings when the pope visits later this month – and that the airspace in the cities he tours will be cleared of all aircraft, with 6,000 to 7,000 soldiers to be deployed.

SEE ALSO: Pope Francis helped make U.S.-Cuba deal a reality

In his native Argentina, some faithful have even called on the pope to don a bulletproof vest as he did in 2009 while serving as the archbishop of Buenos Aires as then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

But Federico Wals, who worked closely with Francis in the Buenos Aires archdiocese, says no threat will alter the pope’s mission.

“He complained about (the bullet proof vest) being uncomfortable after using it once,” he recalled, “and decided not to use it again.”

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The post Is Pope Francis safe amid a Dan Brown Vatican thriller setting? appeared first on Voxxi.