Pope Has Some Criticism for “Backward” Conservatives

(RepublicanDaily.org) – Pope Francis has expressed concern over the “very strong, organized, reactionary attitude” of many members of the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S.

News outlet the Associated Press reported that the remarks were made during a private meeting with fellow Jesuits from Portugal; one of the Portuguese Jesuits remarked that during a sabbatical in the U.S. he met a lot of Catholics, including bishops, who were not very happy with the way Francis was running the Church and had a disparaging view of the Jesuit order. The Pope has long been criticized by the more conservative factions of the Catholic Church due to his more progressive views, such as the emphasis on social, economic, and environmental justice, and what many view as his toned-down approach to LGBTQ+ issues.

A transcript of the meeting was published by Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica after vetting from the Vatican secretariat of state.

According to the transcript of the conversation, the Pope called the attitude of many U.S. Catholics “backward,” saying that these people had fallen prey to the tendency to cling to ideology for support and in the process lose true tradition and true faith in the Church. “Ideologies replace faith,” he said.

Francis added, “backwardness is useless,” and expressed his hope that Catholics understand the “correct evolution” in the way they view and understand questions of faith and morals. He also said that the “vision of the doctrine of the church as a monolith is wrong,” pointing to the backward kind of thinking as a way to close off and become disconnected from the Church’s roots, which in turn can have a devastating effect on society’s morals.

Newsweek quotes Frank Pavone, a former priest who was laicized, as saying that many the Pope’s comments show that he does not understand what America is about. He told the news outlet that U.S. Catholics in general respect the papacy but “don’t feel very affirmed” by the Pope himself. Pavone, who serves as the national director for “Priests for Life,” an anti-abortion organization, said that the Pope’s remarks come off as “judgmental.” Pavone told Newsweek that it is a given that Catholics in the U.S. would involve themselves in politics. “This is America,” he said.

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