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Pope Francis faces twin battle in Church split over sexual abuse

August 30, 2018 4:11 pm

The crowds are quieter than they used to be.

At the Pope’s weekly audience in St Peter’s Square, tourists and pilgrims barely filled half the piazza. It was easy to get to the front of the crowd to watch Francis go by in his Popemobile.

In his address, he reflected on his recent trip to Ireland. “The meeting with eight survivors [of abuse by priests] left a deep impact,” he said.

The audience was a sombre reminder that the novelty of this papacy has given way to two main battles, which are now tangled into one.

Who is challenging the Pope?
The first of these battles puts the Pope up against those who accuse him of not doing enough to tackle child abuse in the Church.

Francis’s opponents are an ad hoc coalition of abuse survivors, angry Catholics, and secular leaders who believe that the Church has too much unchecked power.

The second battle sees the Pope fighting conservative Catholic critics who accuse him of diluting their faith.