How Pope Francis runs his diocese in Rome says a lot about his approach to reform

by | Aug 17, 2023 | Religion

VATICAN CITY (RNS) — Tensions have been bubbling recently in the Catholic Diocese of Rome, as Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, the vicar who supervises the see’s day-to-day operations, has clashed with Rome’s bishop — Catholicism’s worldwide leader, Pope Francis.Francis and De Donatis have differed over the past few years on how to handle the COVID-19 pandemic and the management, or mismanagement, of the diocese’s finances, as well as the vicar’s loyalty to the Rev. Marko Rupnick, a Jesuit priest found guilty of sexually and psychologically abusing at least nine women.
As the rift between the two prelates has become increasingly embarrassing for the Vatican, Francis has characteristically made repeated appeals for unity, but he hasn’t shied from using an iron fist to impose his vision and isolate his opponents, just as he has done to quell growing division throughout the church. Vatican insiders have begun to study the way Francis is handling the disagreements in his own backyard for insight into how the pontiff addresses reform worldwide.

Francis’ most recent plea for harmony with the Roman clergy came in a letter issued Aug. 5 as he returned from his papal trip to Portugal, where he attended the Catholic World Youth Day festival.
Pope Francis meets with clergy of Rome at …

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