Pope Says ‘Backward’ US Conservatives Have Replaced Faith With Ideology

August 28, 2023
Pope Says ‘Backward’ US Conservatives Have Replaced Faith With Ideology
Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience in the Pope Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File)

ROME (AP) — 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.

During the meeting, a Portuguese Jesuit told Francis that he had suffered during a recent sabbatical year in the United States because he came across many Catholics, including some U.S. bishops, who criticized Francis’ 10-year papacy as well as today’s Jesuits.

The 86-year-old Argentine acknowledged his point, saying there was “a very strong, organized, reactionary attitude” in the U.S. church, which he called “backward.” He warned that such an attitude leads to a climate of closure, which was erroneous.

“Doing this, you lose the true tradition and you turn to ideologies to have support. In other words, ideologies replace faith,” he said.

“The vision of the doctrine of the church as a monolith is wrong,” he added. “When you go backward, you make something closed off, disconnected from the roots of the church,” which then has devastating effects on morality.

“I want to remind these people that backwardness is useless, and they must understand that there’s a correct evolution in the understanding of questions of faith and morals,” that allows for doctrine to progress and consolidate over time.

Francis has previously acknowledged the criticism directed at him from some U.S. conservatives, once quipping that it was an “honor” to be attacked by Americans.

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

Religion

A Court Ruled Embryos Are Children. These Christian Couples Agree Yet Wrestle With IVF Choices

When faced with infertility, Amanda and Jeff Walker had a baby through in vitro fertilization but were left with extra... Read More

When faced with infertility, Amanda and Jeff Walker had a baby through in vitro fertilization but were left with extra embryos — and questions. Tori and Sam Earle “adopted” an embryo frozen 20 years earlier by another couple. Matthew Eppinette and his wife chose to forgo... Read More

Vatican Blasts Gender-Affirming Surgery, Surrogacy and Gender Theory as Violations of Human Dignity

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican on Monday declared gender-affirming surgery and surrogacy as grave violations of human dignity, putting them... Read More

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican on Monday declared gender-affirming surgery and surrogacy as grave violations of human dignity, putting them on par with abortion and euthanasia as practices that reject God’s plan for human life. The Vatican’s doctrine office issued “Infinite Dignity,” a 20-page declaration that... Read More

January 29, 2024
by Dan McCue
HHS Civil Rights Office Issues Guidance on Religious Non-Discrimination

WASHINGTON — The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights has issued guidance to U.S. hospital and... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights has issued guidance to U.S. hospital and long-term care facility administrators, reminding them of their facility’s obligation not to discriminate on the basis of religion. The warning comes at a tense time across... Read More

Great Basin Tribes Want Bahsahwahbee Massacre Site in Nevada Named National Monument

ELY, Nev. (AP) — White attackers turned a lush, high desert oasis in eastern Nevada, with its bubbling springs and... Read More

ELY, Nev. (AP) — White attackers turned a lush, high desert oasis in eastern Nevada, with its bubbling springs and a rare stand of Rocky Mountain junipers, into killing fields. They massacred hundreds of Native people there in the 1800s — a horrific history once retold... Read More

Native Hawaiian Salt Makers Combat Climate Change and Pollution to Protect a Sacred Tradition

HANAPEPE, Hawaii (AP) — On a warm summer afternoon, Tina Taniguchi was on her hands and knees scraping dirt off... Read More

HANAPEPE, Hawaii (AP) — On a warm summer afternoon, Tina Taniguchi was on her hands and knees scraping dirt off an oblong depression in the ground. Thick brown hair peeked out from her coconut leaf hat. Splotches of mud stuck to her T-shirt and speckled her... Read More

November 14, 2023
by Tom Ramstack
Supporters of Israel Caution Against Rising Antisemitism

WASHINGTON — A backlash against the antisemitism that erupted since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel showed itself during... Read More

WASHINGTON — A backlash against the antisemitism that erupted since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel showed itself during a congressional hearing and a demonstration in Washington, D.C., Tuesday. During a House Education and the Workforce subcommittee hearing, lawmakers and witnesses described college campuses as... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top