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Pope Decries 'Backwardness' of Conservative US Catholics

By    |   Thursday, 31 August 2023 01:31 PM EDT

Pope Francis decried the "very strong, organized, reactionary attitude" of some conservative U.S. Catholics that prioritizes issues like abortion and sexuality over caring for migrants and the environment The New York Times reported.

The pontiff decried the "backwardness" of American conservative Catholics, saying the faction rejects the broad scope of the Church's mission and the changing of doctrine over time. These Catholics, he said, embrace a narrow, outdated view. 

"I would like to remind these people that backwardness is useless," Francis, 86, told a group of fellow Jesuits during a meeting at World Youth Day celebrations in Lisbon this month. "Doing this, you lose the true tradition and you turn to ideologies to have support. In other words, ideologies replace faith."

A transcript of the Pope's remarks was published this week by the Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica.

Francis' comments were an unusually candid expression of his long-running criticism of some prominent U.S. Catholic pastors: namely, that their ideology has turned them into culture warriors who present a warped view of Catholic doctrine to the faithful.

In a 2018 apostolic exhortation on holiness, Francis wrote that opposing abortion and caring for migrants and the poor are equally as holy.

"Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate," he wrote. "Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned."

Calling climate change a moral issue, Francis has urged the world to take action and has directed priests to welcome and minister to those who are gay, divorced, and remarried.

His conservative critics have accused him for nearly 10 years of leading the church astray and diluting the faith with a misguided pastoral emphasis, with some U.S. bishops issuing public warnings about the direction of the Vatican.

Writing in the preface of a book published this month, Cardinal Raymond Burke, a former American archbishop and Vatican official who is considered a Catholic conservative leader, warned that Francis risked creating a schism within the church. The danger lies in an October synod of bishops that will promote inclusivity, transparency, and accountability, Burke wrote.

Such bottom-up collaboration leads to "confusion and error and their fruit — indeed schism," Burke said, suggesting that a "Pandora's box" of problems will be opened at the meeting.

One of Francis' most vocal critics is Bishop Joseph Strickland, who heads the Diocese of Tyler, in Texas. Under investigation by the Vatican for his leadership, Strickland has accused the pope of undermining the faith and has called on Francis to fire him.

In a letter released last week, Strickland said a number of "basic truths" of Catholic doctrine would be called into question at the synod and hinted at the possibility of a schism. Those who would "propose changes to that which cannot be changed," he said, "are the true schismatics."

Nicole Wells

Nicole Wells, a Newsmax general assignment reporter covers news, politics, and culture. She is a National Newspaper Association award-winning journalist.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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Pope Francis decried the "very strong, organized, reactionary attitude" of some conservative U.S. Catholics that prioritizes issues like abortion and sexuality over caring for migrants and the environment.
pope francis, us, catholic church, conservatives
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2023-31-31
Thursday, 31 August 2023 01:31 PM
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