An increasing number of Catholics believe the Holy Father should resign, owing to the avalanche of scandals in which he's implicated. The question then becomes who would replace him?
A poll last week of Church Militant viewers showed two in five Catholics believe Pope Francis should resign. This question revolved around the sex abuse cover-up involving the Chilean Bp. Juan Barros in which Pope Francis was publically skeptical.
The appointment of the disgraced former archbishop of Los Angeles as papal envoy for Scranton's 150th-anniversary celebration didn't sit well with Catholics either. Finally, the pope's involvement in procuring a $25 million dollar grant for a scandal-ridden hospital in Rome is now on center stage.
If the Holy Father does resign, certain liberal bishops who helped elect Pope Francis to the papacy have already said they want the current secretary of state Cdl. Pietro Parolin to replace him. Last March, news broke of liberal prelates like U.K. Cdl. Vincent Nichols speaking not only of the pope's hoped-for resignation but also of a desire to have Cdl. Parolin take his place.
In January Cdl. Parolin voiced approval for the opening of Holy Communion to the divorced and civilly remarried. The cardinal described such a change in Church practice as a "paradigm shift, " which exalted primacy of conscience over Catholic moral teaching. His statement was publically corrected by the former prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cdl. Gerhard Müller, who countered that such a revolutionary shift "constitutes not a development, but a corruption" of Church teaching.
Watch the panel discuss the myriad of scandals facing the Holy Father in The Download—Pope in Hot Water.