Ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick is not the only wrong person on whom Francis bet. At least three others can be pointed out in the upper levels of the hierarchy, each one tied with double thread to the changes that this pope wants to introduce into the Church.

Then there is Belgian cardinal Godfried Danneels, one who prides himself on having been the kingmaker in the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as pope, together with that “mafia of St. Gallen,” his definition, which saw the periodic meeting in that Swiss town of the Who’s Who of cardinals hostile to John Paul II and Benedict XVI. In the two synods on the family of 2014 and 2015, both times Pope Francis put at the head of his guest list none other than Danneels, because he is a supporter of that “openness” to communion for the divorced and remarried, in practice meaning the admission of divorce and remarriage, which Francis wanted to broach at all costs, as he afterward did with the postsynodal exhortation “Amoris Laetitia.” But not even Danneels is that paragon of virtue which Francis’s conspicuous tokens of appreciation would have one think. In 2010 an audio recording came out in Belgium of him telling a young man to shut up and not report that he was the nephew and sexual victim of the archbishop of Bruges at the time, Roger Vangheluwe, his friend and protege.

Then again there is the Honduran cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, for some time the target of serious accusations of embezzlement that were investigated by an apostolic visitation in his diocese, and whose auxiliary bishop and pupil, Juan José Pineda Fasquelle, was removed last July 20 because of continuous homosexual activity with his seminarians. And yet Pope Francis continues to entrust to him the coordination of the “C9,” the council of nine cardinals who assist him in the governance of the universal Church.

Last but not least there is Monsignor Battista Ricca. Who is not a cardinal but is nevertheless the emblem of the personal secretariat that Bergoglio has built around himself, parallel and often alternative to the offices of the curia. In the organizational structure of the secretariat of state Ricca figures as a diplomatic adviser of the first class, but when he was working in diplomacy in the field he stood out for the scandals he sowed. In Uruguay in particular, where he lived with his lover at the nunciature, whom he had brought down there from Switzerland, the previous stage of his career. Francis knows this, and yet he has promoted Ricca as prelate of the IOR, the Vatican “bank,” and is also keeping him in place as director of the Casa di Santa Marta, his residence. And to those who asked him why he answered, “Who am I to judge?”

In short, Francis wants to reform the Church, but is betting precisely on persons from whom he should first of all free himself if he truly wants a renovated and purified Church.

Full story at L’Espresso.