Podcast: Pope Francis’ critics are dividing the church

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and Pope Francis (Composite image, CNS photo/Vatican Media)

Anyone who is familiar with “Catholic Twitter” or dives into the comments section of Catholic publications knows there are some ugly fights happening between Catholics on the internet—especially about Pope Francis. But is this just a social media phenomenon? This week’s guest doesn’t think so. Mike Lewis believes the pope’s most strident, reactionary critics are not just a fringe to be ignored or dismissed but an influential faction that is dividing the church and families.


We talk to Mike about witnessing his own mother become convinced that Pope Francis was a heretic and how that affected his family and his faith. We ask why this pope has inspired such fierce opposition and what bishops and the people in the pews can do to promote unity within the church.

In Signs of the Times, Pope Francis will sign a new encyclical on human fraternity, titled “Fratelli tutti,” on Oct. 3 at the tomb of St. Francis Assisi. Zac and Ashley discuss what solidarity means during (and after) the pandemic and what the document might say to young Catholics. Next, should your priest tell you how to vote? With the 2020 presidential race kicking into high gear, some Catholic leaders are publicly endorsing the candidates. We discuss what U.S. law and church teaching say about political advocacy from the pulpit.

We are so excited to be back in your feeds and are ready to dive into the big stories in the church and the world that are coming this fall. We cannot do this work without your support, whether that’s becoming a member of our Patreon community, leaving a review on Apple podcasts or telling your friends and family about the show.

Links from the show

Pope Francis’ critics are dividing the church and families—including mine
Where Peter Is
Pope Francis will sign new encyclical on human fraternity at the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi
Explainer: Can a priest or a member of a religious order publicly endorse a political candidate?

What’s on tap?

Stiegl Radler

We don’t have comments turned on everywhere anymore. We have recently relaunched the commenting experience at America and are aiming for a more focused commenting experience with better moderation by opening comments on a select number of articles each day.

But we still want your feedback. You can join the conversation about this article with us in social media on Twitter or Facebook, or in one of our Facebook discussion groups for various topics.

Or send us feedback on this article with one of the options below:

We welcome and read all letters to the editor but, due to the volume received, cannot guarantee a response.

In order to be considered for publication, letters should be brief (around 200 words or less) and include the author’s name and geographic location. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

We open comments only on select articles so that we can provide a focused and well-moderated discussion on interesting topics. If you think this article provides the opportunity for such a discussion, please let us know what you'd like to talk about, or what interesting question you think readers might want to respond to.

If we decide to open comments on this article, we will email you to let you know.

If you have a message for the author, we will do our best to pass it along. Note that if the article is from a wire service such as Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, or the Associated Press, we will not have direct contact information for the author. We cannot guarantee a response from any author.

We welcome any information that will help us improve the factual accuracy of this piece. Thank you.

Please consult our Contact Us page for other options to reach us.

When you click submit, this article page will reload. You should see a message at the top of the reloaded page confirming that your feedback has been received.

[Explore America’s in-depth coverage of Pope Francis.]


The latest from america

The Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Ind., from June 2001: William Emmett LeCroy, 50, on Tuesday would be the sixth federal inmate executed by lethal injection here this year. (CNS photo/Andy Clark, Reuters)
U.S. bishops call the application of capital punishment “completely unnecessary and unacceptable.”
Kevin ClarkeSeptember 22, 2020
Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Father Tony Flannery (CNS photo/Paul Haring/CNS photo/Irish Catholic)
The C.D.F. said today: ‘We did everything possible to dialogue with Father Flannery. It wasn’t always easy.’
Gerard O’ConnellSeptember 22, 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic is adding to the financial woes of Catholic schools in inner cities. But better management and creative fundraising may save them, writes Lance L. Lee, a parent of two children in Catholic schools.
Lance LeeSeptember 22, 2020
Sixth-graders sit at their desks on the first day of classes of the new academic year at Our Lady of Victory School in Floral Park, N.Y., on Sept. 8. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
With many public schools still in virtual mode, parents are taking a new look at Catholic education. But Michael O’Loughlin reports that the reprieve from declining enrollment may be temporary.
Michael J. O’LoughlinSeptember 22, 2020