I know what they are opposing. My problem is with bits like those:
Burke, a bulky American given to lace-embroidered robes and (on formal occasions) a ceremonial scarlet cape so long it needs pageboys to carry its trailing end, was one of the most conspicuous reactionaries in the Vatican.
Cardinal Burke’s combination of anti-communism, ethnic pride and hatred of feminism has nurtured a succession of prominent rightwing lay figures in the US, from Pat Buchanan through Bill O’Reilly and Steve Bannon, alongside lesser-known Catholic intellectuals such as Michael Novak, who have shilled untiringly for US wars in the Middle East and the Republican understanding of free markets.
This isn't there apropos conflict. It's there to illicit a reaction by contrast (with mentioned just below it pre-elected Francis washing the feet of drug addicts) and through association (Bill O'Reilly <- someone whom even I know about and despise and also the mentions of their involvements in the economy and war).
Believe me, I understand the article and find it as interesting as talking about something about which I wasn't aware in the slightest. But I find such cheap rhetorical tricks below the dignity of news. Yes, I am well aware how naive it sounds.