A search is on for the author of a new book about the Pope which accuses him of being a “dictator”.
Published on Kindle in English and in Italian, The Dictator Pope appears under the pseudonym “Marcantonio Colonna”, the name of an admiral who fought at the Battle of Lepanto.
Colonna claims to be an Oxford-educated historian now based in Rome. His book tells the story of Francis’s pontificate, as well as his life before becoming Pope.
Journalist Tess Livingstone wrote in The Australian that the book’s publication has “sparked a frantic witch-hunt” in Rome.
The Dictator Pope draws on a wide range of material including confidential sources within the Vatican.
It interprets Francis as a particularly Argentine figure, “Juan Perón in ecclesiastical translation”. As president of Argentina, Perón would appear to agree with everyone, telling parties from different sides that they were correct. This explains, Colonna argues, the Pope’s mixture of liberal and conservative statements. But The Dictator Pope also suggests that, when in Argentina, Archbishop Bergoglio moved from a more doctrinally conservative position to a more liberal one.
The book is at times harsh – it quotes one priest who reportedly worked with Archbishop Bergoglio in Argentina for years as saying: “The guy manipulates you with the affections.”
Much of the book consists of close analysis of the various controversies which have characterised Francis’s time in office, including the family synod, the reform of Vatican finances and the dispute over the Knights of Malta.
Colonna claims that the Pope has become unaccountable, and that the atmosphere within the Vatican is primarily one of fear. Francis is compared to Paul IV, “a zealot for religious poverty” whose papacy “ended in political scandal and popular riots against his violent unpopularity”.
Bishop hails victory as pro-life doctor wins appeal
A Norwegian court has upheld the conscience rights of a doctor who objects to abortion.
Katarzyna Jachimowicz, who is originally from Poland, was working at a family clinic in the Sauerhad area. She was sacked after refusing to provide intrauterine devices (IUDs), which can cause the death of unborn children.
A local court upheld the health authority’s decision to dismiss her.
But this week the appeal court of Agder ruled that Dr Jachimowicz’s conscience rights under the European Convention on Human Rights had been infringed.
The judge said that since a patient could easily obtain an IUD from another medical professional, there was insufficient reason to sack her.
Bishop Bernt Eidsvig of Oslo and Trondheim said the decision was “a victory for freedom of conscience”.
Norway passed a law in 2015 which prevents doctors from refusing to provide birth control. But the law does not cover abortifacients.
Robert Clarke, of ADF International, said: “This judgment sends a clear message to the Norwegian authorities that conscience is a fundamental right under the European Convention on Human Rights.”
Typhoon kills Catholic fishermen
A typhoon on the south-west Indian coast has killed at least 32 poor Catholic fishermen who were at sea, with another 200 still missing.
All the dead were Catholic men who had gone out to sea, according to Fr V Wilfred, a priest of Vizhinjam parish, a fishing village in Kerala.
Thousands have been forced to leave their homes. India’s bishops have expressed solidarity with the fishermen and asked dioceses across India to offer prayers during Masses.
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