Pope Francis is facing bombshell allegations that have put the papacy directly in the crosshairs
of a potential scandal.
But the Pope isn’t new to being at the center of a controversies.
I’m Judah with NowThis World and in today’s episode, we’re going to explore some of
the controversies of Pope Francis’ past, and the recent allegations that might very
well end his historic rule.
Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1936 -- Pope Francis was the
son of italian immigrants who fled the fascist dictatorship of Benito Mussolini.
Bergoglio dedicated his life to the Roman Catholic church in 1958 when he joined the
novitiate of the Society of Jesus.
He became an ordained priest in 1969 and eventually assumed the leadership role of Provincial
of the Jesuits in Argentina in 1973.
But during his time in that role, he would find himself in the midst of a wartime controversy.
From 1976-1983, Argentina suffered through what many called “the Dirty War.”
It was a period of time when a brutal military junta ruled the country.
The dictatorship cracked down on suspected dissidents and others, including opposition
figures and innocent civilians.
They were taken by the government, where some were tortured in secret prisons and eventually
This campaign claimed the lives of at least 9,000 people.
But what does this have to do with the Pope?
Two jesuit clerics who were working among the poor in Buenos Aires’ slums were kidnapped
by the military government -- and some have said Pope Francis is partially to blame for
Some accused him of being complicit with the government, when he didn’t publicly endorse
the two priests’ work, but the Vatican and the Pope himself have strongly denied this
Years later, he acknowledged that he made mistakes during his time in leadership in
Argentina and said it was because he was ”put into the job too early.”
But despite this troubling incident, he largely is seen as a spiritual leader of the people.
Some have characterized him as a “humble” man, someone who once took public busses and
cooked his own meals during his time as a leader.
That humble, mild mannered temperament -- and his goal of refocusing the church's efforts
to helping the poor -- is what set him apart, leading him to his next role in the church.
On March 13, 2013 -- a billow of white smoke rose above the Sistine Chapel.
That was the moment Jorge Mario Bergoglio, became known as Pope Francis.
He became the 266th leader of the Roman catholic church.
His leadership would bring in a new wave of firsts for the Vatican.
He was the first pope from Latin America, the first Jesuit, and first non-european in
over 1,000 years.
He said wanted to shift the church’s priority to helping the poor and marginalised.
He was seen as a reformer, someone who wanted push the catholic church forward.
He’s made relatively supportive comments about the LGBTQ community in 2013, saying
quote "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"
He’s warned of the growing dangers of climate change, argued that the death penalty is “inadmissible,”
and gave priests the right to to “forgive abortions,” a medical procedure that would
have automatically resulted in the excommunication from the church.
But these signs of change didn’t sit well with some conservatives in the church.
One of the most notable challenges to his authority and reforms, came from the Vatican
ambassador to the United States, Cardinal Carlo Maria Viganò.
Viganò, a staunch anti-gay member of the church, arranged a meeting between Kim Davis
-- a controversial Kentucky official who refused to marry a gay couples -- and the Pope, without
A few months later Pope Francis accepted Viganò’s resignation.
But that wouldn’t be the last time the Pope’s rule would be challenged by Viganò.
Now, the pope faces bombshell allegations that has brought the papacy directly into
question over how much the Pope knew of alleged sexual abuse by U.S. cardinal Theodore McCarrick,
who recently resigned under pressure.
And the accuser, is none other than former Vatican ambassador to the United States, Cardinal
Carlo Maria Vigano.
He released an 11-page letter in conservative catholic media where he claims the Pope knew
about sexual abuse in the church and didn’t do anything about it.
He also claimed the Pope has been allowing what he calls “homosexual networks” to
run rampant in the Vatican, something he says is the cause of the catholic church’s abuse
But Vigano has released no evidence to corroborate any of his claims against Pope Francis.
When asked to respond to the allegation, the Pope’s was eerily silent on the matter and
refused to comment.
Some say that this allegation is nothing more than a man trying to get even 3 years after
So will Vigano provide evidence of his bombshell claim, and if he does will to Pope resign?