Pope calls out his conservative critics and their “suicidal attitude”


Pope Francis said in a CBS 60 Minutes news interview that his conservative critics have a “suicidal attitude”.

It is one thing “to take tradition into account, to consider situations from the past, but quite another to be closed up inside a dogmatic box” Francis said.

He was responding to a probe into his thoughts on the backlash against his papacy by conservatives, including US clergy members.

According to the Daily Mail newspaper, the Pope’s criticism will make explosive viewing on Sunday when the full interview is released in the US.

Same Church, different views

Francis envisions a merciful Catholic Church open to everyone. He describes it as a “field hospital” ready to bind up the wounds of a suffering humanity.

He’s called for Catholics to embrace LGBTQ+ Catholics.

Last December, he approved letting Catholic priests bless same-sex couples – although the Church maintains a ban on gay marriage.

The blessing is for the people, not ‘the union’ itself, Francis says in the CBS interview.

“Some people were scandalised by this. But why?” he asks. Homosexuality is not a crime but a “human fact”.

Not everyone’s pleased with his ideas.

More conservative Catholics – including many groups in the United States – say they want a pope who lays down the law and presents doctrine in black-and-white terms.

They oppose the church becoming more welcoming to LGBT people and to giving lay people bigger roles in the institution.

They’re not impressed with the Pope’s outspokenness on the plight of migrants and on the need to address climate change either.

Calling out critics

Francis is straightforward about calling out his critics.

Some opponents in the US are “backwardists” who have replaced faith with ideology, the Pope says.

Last year he dismissed conservative Bishop Joseph E. Strickland who was a withering critic of his papacy and accused Francis of undermining the church’s central teachings.

Recently, he has also sanctioned one of his most outspoken critics, US Cardinal Raymond Burke.

The Pope’s remarks to CBS come at a time when a spotlight has been thrown on an extreme socially conservative trend in the US Catholic church.

This trend was highlighted by a sports celebrity’s recent address at a Catholic school.

He described Pride Month as “evil” and suggested women would find the most fulfilment as homemakers.


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