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Founder of Sant'Egidio community sees Pope Francis facing tough resistance within the Church

Catholic World News - March 19, 2014

The founder of the Sant’Egidio community has remarked that Pope Francis is facing greater opposition within the Church than any Pontiff of the past century.

In an interview with Vatican Insider, Andrea Riccardi said that the strength of resistance confirms that “the Pope really is changing the Church.” He expressed confidence, however, that the popularity of Pope Francis would endure, in spite of criticism. “The honeymoon isn’t over,” he said, “because it’s much more than just a media phenomenon.”

Riccardi recalled that Pope Paul VI also faced intense resistance within the Church, but said that “the Church and also society at the time were going through a period of general protest.” More recently, Pope Benedict XVI had his critics, but “the opposition came form the outside, from the international public, than it did from the inside. As I said, the resistance Francis is facing is stronger and it’s coming from within the Church.”

The influential Italian leader remarked: “It’s also worth noting that those who are showing resistance now, went on for years about the importance of the Pope’s authority and of showing obedience to the Pope.”

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