(RightWing.org) – The Pope has stepped into a French scandal, coming to the defense of an archbishop forced to resign over an “ambiguous” relationship with a woman. The pontiff’s comments have triggered a new argument between modernizers and traditionalists in the Catholic Church.
On December 2, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Michel Aupetit as Archbishop of Paris, after Aupetit denied having an intimate relationship with a woman but admitted his behavior with the woman “may have been ambiguous.” Now Pope Francis has launched an astonishing defense of the disgraced Frenchman.
Talking to journalists on a December 6 flight from Greece to Rome, the 84-year-old Argentinian claimed, “Sins of the flesh are not the most serious,” and said, “Pride and hatred are worse.” Francis also said he didn’t accept Aupetit’s resignation because of his actual behavior but as a damage limitation move. He claimed, “He was condemned but by whom? By public opinion, by gossip.” The pope called it an injustice and ranted that the archbishop had been sacrificed “on the altar of hypocrisy.”
Francis’s comments have enraged Catholic traditionalists; one blogger mocked his “in-flight entertainment,” while another said it seemed likely the pope hasn’t even read the Bible.
This incident isn’t the first time Francis has sparked controversy recently. In October, he asked people to be careful in their “interpretation” of a French report into child abuse by Catholic priests, saying it had to be put in the context of the “historical situation.” He argued abuse 70 years ago was not “experienced” the same way as it is now.
He has also criticized un-named “populist” leaders, perhaps those in Poland and Hungary, who build walls and concertina wire fences to keep out illegal immigrants. Angry scholars pointed out Francis lives in a walled city and has recently added wire fences to keep out unvaccinated crowds from the Vatican.
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