Pope says criticism of the Church by some conservative Catholics is “the work of the devil”

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Pope Francis recently referred to growing criticism from some conservative members of the Catholic Church, denouncing their disapproval as “the work of the devil,” the Associated Press reported. His comments, provided in a transcript published Tuesday by the Jesuit review La Civilta Cattolica, came in a closed-door meeting on September 12 with Slovak Jesuits in the Slovak capital of Bratislava.

Right-wing church members have long opposed Francis’ criticisms of capitalism, as well as his attention to environmental issues and the acceptance of migrants, reported the AP. Their issues with the Pope and the church escalated in July over his crackdown on the celebration of the Old Latin Mass.

“Personally, I deserve attacks and insults because I am a sinner, but the church does not deserve this; it is the work of the devil,” he said. “Yes there are even priests who make mean comments about me. Sometimes I lose my patience, especially when they pass judgment without entering into a real dialogue. Nothing can be done about that.”

For more Associated Press reporting, see below.

Pope Francis has acknowledged his increasingly vocal right-wing critics, saying their “nasty comments” were the work of the devil and that “some wanted me dead” after his recent bowel operation. The Pope attends a meeting with priests, men and women religious, seminarians and catechists, at St. Martin’s Cathedral, Bratislava, Slovakia, September 13, 2021.
Gregorio Borgia / AP Photo

Francis showed his dark sense of humor throughout the Bratislava meeting, especially when a priest asked him how he was feeling. The Hungary-Slovakia trip from September 12 to 15 was Francis’ first international outing since undergoing surgery in July to remove a 33-centimeter piece of his large intestine.

“Still alive,” Francis joked. “Even though some wanted me dead. I know there were even meetings between priests who thought the Pope was in worse shape than what was said. They were preparing for the conclave.”

“Patience! Thank God I’m fine,” he added.

The commentary reflected the intense interest in the pope’s health and speculation about what would happen if he failed, which always accompanies a pontiff but is perhaps more acute with a pope who drew vocal opposition from a part of the church. . After his 10-day hospital stay, Italian media began to speculate on Francis’ resignation and highlighted the need for standards to regulate a retired second pope.

Francis previously said the resignation “hadn’t even crossed my mind.”

Francois was also asked about how he deals with divisions and people who view him with suspicion.

In July, Francis overthrew Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and reimposed restrictions on the celebration of the Old Latin Mass, saying the move was necessary because the Latin Mass had become a source of division in the church and had been exploited. for ideological reasons.

In his response, Francis referred to the outcry at the Latin Mass and noted that there was a “big Catholic TV station that continually speaks badly about the Pope.” He did not name it, but it could have been a reference to media conglomerate EWTN, which criticized the papacy and in particular Francis’s new restrictions on the old Latin Mass.

Francis said his reaction to the judgments was simply to preach. “I’m just going ahead without entering their world of ideas and fantasies,” he said.

Pope Francis in the midst of the travels
Pope Francis has denounced his conservative critics in the Catholic Church, calling their judgments “the work of the devil”. The Pope rides his popemobile through a crowd of pilgrims before celebrating an open-air mass on September 15, 2021 in Sastin, Slovakia.
Sean Gallup / Getty Images


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