A high-profile English convert to Catholicism has raised concerns about an “intellectual deficiency” in Pope Francis’s papacy, saying that the Pontiff may be causing “confusion” in the Church.
Charles Moore, a journalist, author and former editor of the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph and the Spectator, told an Italian magazine: “My anxiety about Pope Francis is that he may not be as intellectually powerful as Pope Benedict XVI and Pope St John Paul II.
“For me his encyclical Laudato Si’ is not well argued,” Moore said. “It is rather loosely put together.
“One thing I value about Catholic teaching is a strong theological and intellectual thread through the argument, allowing you to determine whether you agree with it or not.”
“I think this intellectual deficiency in his papacy may also be causing some organisational deficiencies and a slight sense of confusion.”
Mr Moore, the author of the official biography of Margaret Thatcher, was speaking to the Messenger of St Anthony, a magazine published by Franciscans in Padua.
But he also said he thought the College of Cardinals made the right choice in electing Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as Pope in 2013.
“He is good at restating obvious things that people forget,” said Mr Moore. “For instance, it was a very good thing to have a Year of Mercy, to think about mercy, because it reminds us about how we stand to Jesus and how we stand in relation to one another.”
Theresa May faces pressure over Catholic schools pledge
Theresa May is facing increasing pressure to drop a Conservative manifesto pledge allowing Catholic free schools to select all their pupils on the grounds of faith.
Amanda Spielman, chief inspector of schools, said she was “uncomfortable” with the policy, saying it could lead to more segregation.
Currently free schools can choose only half their pupils on the basis of their faith. The cap has meant the Church has opened no free schools, as it could mean schools turning away pupils because they were Catholic.
Ms Spielman told The Sunday Times: “Admission 100 per cent on faith leads to increased levels of segregation within communities. I am uncomfortable with anything that leads to increased segregation.”
Of the Government’s plans, she said: “There are various proposals … I am not sure they are still on the cards.”
The removal of the cap could pave the way for 40 new Catholic schools. The Diocese of East Anglia has already developed bids for eight free schools. Bishop Alan Hopes has asked Catholics to lobby their MP over the issue.