A string of liberal moves by Pope Francis that have led Hollywood and Democrats to dub him the "cool pope" have distressed conservative American clergy so much that some are already looking to the next leader of the Catholic Church, according to a critical new book.
What's more, Vatican insiders describe the pope's management style as chaotic and that he is know to flip-flop from day to day.
"After only four years of his pontificate, Francis has emerged as one of the most political popes in the history of the church," wrote George Neumayr in his just released The Political Pope.
He added that Francis "is not only championing the radical political agenda of the global left but also subverting centuries-old Catholic teaching on faith and morals, evident in his unprecedented support for granting the sacrament of Holy Communion to the divorced and remarried and in his drive to dilute the church's moral and theological commitments."
The pope's endorsement of liberal policies, such as open-border immigration and global warming, could trip up the administration's hopes for a friendly visit with President Trump at the Vatican next week. Francis criticized Trump during the campaign over immigration, even questioning the president's Christianity.
Neumayr, who also authored the bestseller No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom, gives voice to critics who believe Francis has veered too far left and has abandoned the policies and traditional Catholic teachings of the past two popes.
He notes that the pope appears open to every liberal thought, as evidenced with his most famous line, "Who am I to judge?"
Neumayr lists the liberal stars and publications that have embraced the pope, from former Vice President Al Gore, to Jane Fonda to Bill Maher, and the Rolling Stone.
Key to his book are interviews with critics, including an American priest who said that he carries around a list of dead popes to remind distressed parishioners that "bad popes don't live forever."
He also described a "buyer's remorse" with those who selected Francis as the 266th pope in 2013.
He quoted Vatican official who described the view of conservatives. "The more he talks, the worse it gets. Many bishops and cardinals are terrified to speak out, but they are in a state of apoplexy. The atmosphere is so politicized and skewed. The church is becoming unrecognizable."
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org