There has been a "growing backlash" in the church to some of Pope Francis' more progressive ideas, the Los Angeles Times reported.
It has been led "largely by German and American bishops who fear the pope may be overturning centuries of doctrine on divorce, among other matters," the newspaper reported.
And it has started rumors of a schism — meaning a possible break within the church, such as the division between the Eastern Orthodox branch and the Roman Catholics.
The Times said conservative opponents are now protesting Pope Francis' 2016 apostolic exhortation in which he "suggested bishops can use discretion in granting Communion to Catholics who divorce, then remarry in a civil ceremony."
John Allen, editor of the independent Catholic website Crux, told the Times that American Catholics were divided on the divorce issue.
"There is no great ferment among rank-and-file Catholics, but the inside-baseball crowd is borderline obsessed, strongly divided in the same way as Europe," he told the newspaper.
"Liberals see it as a long-overdue gesture of pastoral generosity, while conservatives see it as symptomatic of Francis' lack of clarity on doctrine — and they are going at it hammer and tongs."
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