Pope Francis says US Catholic conservatives have ‘suicidal attitude’

May 17, 2024 - 5:19 PM
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Pope Francis
Pope Francis presides over the Vespers prayer service in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, May 9, 2024. (Reuters/Remo Casilli)

Pope Francis said his conservative critics within the Roman Catholic Church in the United States are trapped in a “suicidal attitude,” according to an interview with CBS.

During the April 24 interview with “60 Minutes” that will air this Sunday, Pope Francis was asked his thoughts on the conservative backlash against his papacy, with many of his critics being American clergy members.

Pope Francis responded by saying a conservative is someone who “clings to something and does not want to see beyond that.”

“It is a suicidal attitude,” the pontiff said, according to a brief transcript excerpt made available by CBS Thursday.

“Because one thing is to take tradition into account, to consider situations from the past, but quite another is to be closed up inside a dogmatic box.”

Pope Francis has clashed with the conservative wing almost since he was elected as head of the church in 2013.

Moves conservatives have opposed include papal attempts to make the church more welcoming to the LGBT community and to give lay people more responsibility in the church.

Francis last year dismissed a conservative U.S. bishop who was a withering critic of his papacy, and said the conservative wing in the U.S. church was “reactionary.” He also stripped a conservative American cardinal of some Vatican privileges.

— Reporting by Brad Brooks in Longmont, Colorado; Editing by Alexandra Hudson