Some of you may have been following the scandal over the Knights of Malta. While the catalyst for the scandal was somewhat absurd it points to deeper tensions within the Vatican.
Francis is ostensibly trying to clean up the bureaucracy and business dealings of the Holy See and while many are focused on some of his statements regarding doctrine, the insiders are probably more concerned about what his reforms mean for the Vatican's role in terms of power and global finance.
The Knights of Malta is one of several organisations affiliated with the Vatican that functions as something of a freemasonry. Powerful, deeply connected to business and government, the knights along with groups such as Opus Dei have links to the Deep State. These relationships were established in the days following World War II and it is within these groups that Western intelligence agencies do business with and infiltrate the Vatican. It is here that we find the plots regarding corporate takeovers, money laundering, the toppling of governments and other dark and clandestine deeds.
Francis is tangling with some very dangerous and powerful people and it's clear they're not going to sit by and let him do it.
Doctrinally speaking there are different forces at work within Rome. Some desperately want the Church to liberalise and believe this is necessary for the organisation to stay viable in the 21st century. Sharp declines in numbers and revenue have many worried.
Others know that Rome has other sources of income that have little or nothing to do with donations. And some of these same forces sense that a change is in the air. The West is getting ready to make a turn to the Right and they want to hold on, stay the course and in a few years elect a very different sort of pope, a Benedict with vitality, zeal and the public relations skills required to navigate the ensuing choppy waters. The tensions and battles that developed in the wake of Vatican II are coming to a head. Something has got to give and the stakes are very high. Many fail to understand how powerful the Vatican is, how much wealth is at stake and how integrated Rome is within the larger Western Establishment.
I am not positing as some Fundamentalists are prone to do that the Vatican runs the world. By no means. The Vatican plays a part and has a role. It manipulates and is manipulated. Its power waxes and wanes.
Francis is old and to some degree compromised. It will be interesting to watch his final years on the so-called throne of St. Peter.