Pope Francis’ insistence on living the Word of God rather than writing about it is seen as the reason why he is getting a lot of resistance from within the Church.

The “angry rejection” of Pope Francis by significant leaders of the Church is an amazing phenomenon and very worrying, said Australian biblical scholar and author Rev. Professor Francis J. Moloney, SDB, AM.

Fr Francis J. Maloney, SDB, AM

In a talk to the Auckland Priests Assembly at Waipuna Hotel on September 10, Fr Moloney noted this rejection of a pope has never happened “since Vatican I and the declaration of the infallibility of the Pope”.

“It’s a worry. A house divided against itself will fall. And so, we’re dealing with a very difficult situation,” he told the priests.

Fr Moloney said there has been an “incredible insistence of the centrality of
the Word of God in the life of the Church” with so many documents written from Pope Leo XXIII’s Providentissimus Deus in 1893 to Pope Pius XII’s Divino Afflante Spiritu to Pope Benedict XVI’s Verbo Domini.

“So, what does Pope Francis do? He comes along and he doesn’t worry too
much about a new magisterium about the Word of God in the life of the Church. He lives it!” said Fr Moloney.

He said this is why many people don’t like Pope Francis.

“But the Pope carries on,” said Fr Maloney. “I have this reflection on the way in which the lived magisterium of the Word of God, particularly of a Gospel lifestyle, in Francis is the reason that he is such a problem.”

Fr Moloney said Pope Francis lives his life “where his words are”.

He said Pope Francis’ vision of the Church was well-articulated at a gathering of the Italian Church in Florence in 2015 when the Pope said, “we are not living in an era of change but the change of era… Christian doctrine is not a closed system incapable of generating questions, doubts, interrogatives — but is alive, knows being unsettled, enlivened. It has a face that is not rigid, it has a body that moves and grows, it has soft flesh; it is called Jesus Christ.”

Fr Moloney said what Pope Francis did is “to incarnate the Word of God in the heart of the Church”.

“Pope Francis provides access to the face, body and flesh of Jesus Christ
through his passionate commitment to the living voice of the Word of God within the Catholic tradition,” he said.


  1. Fr Thomas Rosica agrees, he has given similar gushing praise – (the Church is) “openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture” …”(The Pope) breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants” because he is “free from disordered attachments” (uk catholic herald)

    But then I’m old enough to remember how JP2 and B16 were resisted by omission, criticism and fobbed off but I’m too young to be part of the generation that constructed that narrative and the one above.