Pope Francis has blasted the “backwardness” of some conservatives in the U.S. Catholic Church, saying they have replaced faith with ideology and that a correct understanding of Catholic doctrine allows for change over time.
Francis’ comments were an acknowledgment of the divisions in the U.S. Catholic Church, which has been split between progressives and conservatives who long found support in the doctrinaire papacies of St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI, particularly on issues of abortion and same-sex marriage.
Many conservatives have blasted Francis’ emphasis instead on social justice issues such as the environment and the poor, while also branding as heretical his opening to letting divorced and civilly remarried Catholics receive the sacraments.
Francis made the comments in a private meeting with Portuguese members of his Jesuit religious order while visiting Lisbon on Aug. 5; the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, which is vetted by the Vatican secretariat of state, published a transcript of the encounter Monday.
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