Pope's briefing system under scrutiny after Chile gaffe

Just how well informed is Pope Francis about the goings-on in his 1.2-billion strong Catholic Church?

That question is making the rounds after the pope seemed completely unaware of the details of a Chilean sex abuse scandal that soured his recent trip there and forced him to do an about-face.

It also came up after his abrupt, no-explanation dismissal of a respected Vatican bank manager. And it rose to the fore when Francis was accused by a cardinal of not realizing that his own diplomats were "selling out" the underground Catholic Church in China for the sake of political expediency.

Vatican watchers say the pope has built an informal, parallel network of friends and informants but their information is not always up to the standards a world leader needs.