The well-known face of Catholic conservatism and opposition to Pope Francis, Cardinal Raymond Burke, told a congregation in Kansas City recently: “When the shepherd becomes a wolf, the first duty of the flock is to defend itself.” This, again, is a sign that the honeymoon phase of this papacy is something of the past. Earlier this month posters appeared all over Rome depicted a stern-looking pope with the question: “Where’s your mercy?” printed on them. Some speculated that Burke was part of this campaign. And, on a Sunday visit to a parish in Rome, Pope Francis warned that a vendetta and talking behind people’s backs is “not Christian”. Will Pope Francis go head-to-head with his most vociferous detractors? By RUSSELL POLLITT.