undefinedPope Francis is struggling to manage powerful bishops in the U.S. and Germany, two groups at opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, as he tries to advance his progressive agenda without jeopardizing the unity of the Catholic Church.
The election of President Biden, a progressive Catholic whom some U.S. bishops want to censure for his support of abortion rights, has exacerbated longstanding tensions between the pope and the largely conservative American episcopate. U.S. church leaders have resisted promoting the popes priorities of social and economic justice and care for the environment over opposition to abortion and defense of religious freedom.
On the left, the pope is trying to rein in German bishops whoencouraged by the popes liberalizing gestures on topics including sexuality, ecumenism and the role of womenare pressing for changes that go further than Pope Francis is comfortable with, and that conservatives warn could cause a schism.
Pope Francis most recent attempt to restrain the Germans came in this weeks Vatican document forbidding clergy to bless same-sex unions, a practice supported by some leading German bishops.
Each country presents a different set of issues, a different set of struggles but I think some of the underlying dynamics are the same, said Adam DeVille, a professor of theology at Indianas University of Saint Francis. In both cases, the pope I think is really trying to say, come on guys, lets rein it in here, lets get back into the same lane all together.