In a recent private meeting with members of his Jesuit religious order in Lisbon, Pope Francis addressed the deep divisions within the U.S. Catholic Church. The pontiff expressed his concern over the “backwardness” of certain conservative factions, accusing them of prioritizing ideology over true faith.

The U.S. Catholic Church has long been divided between progressives and conservatives, with the latter traditionally finding solace in the strict papacies of St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI. These divisions often centered around contentious issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage.

However, Pope Francis has placed an emphasis on social justice matters, including environmental concerns and addressing poverty. This shift in focus has been met with criticism from many conservatives, who have also condemned his willingness to allow divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive sacraments.

During the meeting, a Portuguese Jesuit shared his personal struggles during a sabbatical in the United States, where he encountered numerous Catholics, including bishops, who openly criticized Francis’s papacy and the Society of Jesus. This candid confession prompted the pope’s response.

The pope’s comments, which were transcribed and published by the Jesuit journal La Civilt√† Cattolica, provide rare insight into his thoughts on the challenges he faces with right-wing Catholic critics. It is clear that some individuals within the church have vehemently opposed Francis’s tenure as pope.

As the Catholic Church continues to grapple with internal divisions, it is evident that Pope Francis recognizes the urgency for change and a reevaluation of long-held doctrines. His message serves as a reminder that the essence of Catholicism allows for growth and adaptation over time.

The Importance of Progress in Church Doctrine

A Forward-Thinking Perspective

In a recent discussion, Pope Francis, an 86-year-old Argentine, addressed a significant issue within the U.S. church. He expressed concern over what he deemed as a “very strong, organized, reactionary attitude” that he referred to as “backward.” The Pope emphasized the detrimental effects that such an attitude can have on the church, leading to a climate of closure and disconnection from the roots of the institution.

The pope warned against losing sight of the true tradition of the church and replacing it with ideologies for support. He stressed that when one goes backward, they create a closed-off environment where ideologies overshadow faith itself. According to Pope Francis, this kind of regressive mindset hinders progress and has devastating consequences for morality.

Embracing Correct Evolution

Pope Francis emphasized the importance of understanding that the doctrine of the church should not be viewed as a monolithic entity. He advocated for an evolution in the understanding of questions relating to faith and morals, asserting that this progressive approach allows doctrine to evolve and consolidate over time. Through this evolution, the church can adapt to the changing needs of its followers while staying rooted in its principles.

Addressing Criticism and Embracing Honor

The pontiff is no stranger to criticism, particularly from conservative factions within the U.S. Nevertheless, Pope Francis has embraced this feedback and even considers it an honor to be attacked by Americans. He remains committed to his vision of a forward-thinking and inclusive church that reflects the evolving world we live in.

In conclusion, Pope Francis encourages the church to reject backwardness and adopt a progressive mindset in its approach to doctrine. By embracing correct evolution and understanding the importance of change, the church can grow while staying true to its roots. It is through this delicate balance that the church can thrive and continue to make a positive impact on its followers’ lives.

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