“Some wanted me dead:” Pope acknowledges conservative critics

some wanted me dead

Pope Francis has acknowledged his conservative critics saying “some wanted me dead” following his recent intestinal surgery.

When a priest asked Francis how he was feeling, the pontiff showed his dark sense of humour, replying, “Still alive.”

“Even though some wanted me dead. I know there were even meetings among priests who thought the pope was in worse shape than what was being said. They were preparing the conclave,” he continued.

“Patience! Thank God I’m well,” he added.

The comment was a sign of the acute interest in the pope’s health.

It also reflected on speculation about what would happen if he succumbed to severe illness.

After his 10-day hospital stay, Italian media speculated that Francis might resign and noted the need for norms to regulate a second retired pope.

Francis has previously said resigning “didn’t even cross my mind.”

Conservative criticism of Francis turned to outrage after Francis in July cracked down on the celebration of the old Latin Mass.

Francis noted that there was a “big Catholic television station that continually speaks poorly about the pope.”

He didn’t name it but it could have been a reference to the EWTN media conglomerate, which has been critical of the papacy.

“I personally might merit attacks and insults because I’m a sinner, but the church doesn’t deserve this; it’s the work of the devil,” he said.

Making a second, but related point, Francis told Slovakian Jesuits that the Catholic Church suffers from a temptation to return to attitudes and practices of the past. An attitude that blocks pastoral outreach to many who are marginalized.

“We are suffering this today in the church: the ideology of going backwards.

“It is an ideology that colonizes minds. It is a form of ideological colonization.

“Today, he said, many in the church are afraid of accompanying people “with sexual diversity.

“That is why today we look back to the past: to seek security.

“It frightens us to celebrate before the people of God who look us in the face and tell the truth. It frightens us to go forward in pastoral experiences,” the pope said.

“This is the evil of this moment. Namely, to seek the path in rigidity and clericalism, which are two perversions,” he said.

Francis made the comments during a private meeting with the Slovakian Jesuits. The comments were made public by the Jesuit journal La Civilita Cattolica.




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