Pope Francis has called out the U.S. Catholic Church, where he says political ideology has replaced faith in some cases.
Francis made the comments during a private meeting in Lisbon with members of the Jesuit order, of which he is a member, on August 5 during his trip for World Youth Day. They were published on Monday by the Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica.
He was responding to a Portuguese Jesuit who said that he had seen Catholics critical of the pope’s leadership during a year-long sabbatical in the United States.
Francis has received criticism from some conservative sectors of the U.S. Catholic Church who oppose reforms, including making the church more welcoming and less judgmental towards some, including the LGBTQ+ community.
“You have seen that in the United States, the situation is not easy: there is a very strong, organized reactionary attitude,” the pope responded. “It is organized and shapes the way people belong, even emotionally.”
He said his critics should understand that being backward-looking is “useless” and “there is an appropriate evolution in the understanding of matters of faith and morals.”
He added: “You have been to the United States and you say you have felt a climate of closure. Yes, this climate can be experienced in some situations. But in this way, the true tradition is lost and one turns to ideologies for support. In other words, ideology replaces faith, belonging to a sector of the Church replaces belonging to the Church.”
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.