ROME, January 9, 2014 ( – In what is being interpreted as a criticism of Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop Enrico dal Covolo, rector of the Lateran University in Rome, praised Pope Francis recently for relieving the Church of “the fears she had in the past.”

“I believe that Pope Francis represents a figure of discontinuity in regards with the previous pontificate, but an extremely positive discontinuity because he's pushing the Church, rectifying it from all the fears she had in the past,” the bishop said in a brief interview with Pacific News Center during a short stay in the island of Guam this past Christmas season.


He added that he agreed “totally with the changes undertaken by Pope Francis, because they correspond precisely to the challenges we are called to face today.”

Dal Covolo, a Salesian, was made bishop and rector of the Lateran University –often known as the ‘Pope’s University’- by Pope Benedict.

The last pope also named him Consultant of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Consultant of the Congregation for the Clergy, and Lenten Preacher.

He is also a Theologian and a Member of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences.

Nevertheless, in declarations made to this past September, Bishop dal Covolo said he thought Pope Francis had “exceeded my expectations” in collecting “the very rich doctrinal teachings of Benedict XVI… and transmit it to the youth.”

That time however, he also declared he believed “Pope Francis is exorcising the Church, which must come out of its own fears and locks.”