The Latest Vatican Crisis Is About Power

Rachel Donadio at The Atlantic:

In addition to highlighting intrigue at the Vatican, the letter also exposes deep fault lines inside the Catholic hierarchy in the United States—what Ross Douthat in the Times has called “the Catholic civil war.” Viganò writes that Francis told him “the bishops in the United States must not be ideologized, they must not be right-wing.” This is another key passage. While the U.S. Catholic hierarchy has few significant differences of opinion on doctrine, there are differences of tone and approach. Francis is more pastoral and less disciplinarian, and certainly less interested in the Church being on the front lines of culture wars over issues such as abortion and birth control. Others in the U.S. hierarchy—let’s call them the “Fox News bishops”—want the Church to be in the thick of the debate. Many traditionalist Catholics find Francis too liberal, too interested in social justice. As the ambassador in Washington, Viganò had pushed at the Vatican for the appointments of more combative bishops in the United States. After the Viganò letter appeared, some U.S. bishops came out in defense of Francis, and others decidedly did not. (Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, a traditionalist known for his penchant for wearing a vestment with a long red flowing train, said Viganò’s calls for Francis’ resignation were “licit.”)

more here.