Pope Francis argued that some U.S. Catholics are “backward-looking” by putting ideological issues above faith during an Aug. 5 visit with Jesuits in Portugal, according to a transcript published Monday by the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica.
The pope was meeting with individuals from the Colégio de São João de Brito, a school run by the Society of Jesus, and discussed how politically divided the church is in the U.S., noting the “reactionary attitude” of many members of the faith, according to the transcript. Francis said that he wanted to remind U.S. Catholics that “being backward-looking” is not healthy for the church and that doctrine is always “progressing.” (RELATED: Why Is The Vatican Investigating A Conservative Bishop In Texas)
“I would like to remind those people that indietrismo (being backward-looking) is useless and we need to understand that there is an appropriate evolution in the understanding of matters of faith and morals as long as we follow the three criteria that Vincent of Lérins already indicated in the fifth century: doctrine evolves ut annis consolidetur, dilatetur tempore, sublimetur aetate,” Francis said. “In other words, doctrine also progresses, expands and consolidates with time and becomes firmer, but is always progressing.”
Francis further argued that those with a tendency to move backward risked being “disconnected from the roots of the Church” and that pushing “criteria for change” beyond what the Catholic faith describes can be “devastating,” according to the transcript.
“You have been to the United States and you say you have felt a climate of closure,” Francis said. “Yes, this climate can be experienced in some situations. And there you can lose the true tradition and turn to ideologies for support. In other words, ideology replaces faith, membership of a sector of the Church replaces membership of the Church.”
In 2020, Francis said in a documentary that “civil union law” should be created for same-sex relationships, and in June the Vatican released a draft document that would help the Catholic Church appeal to groups that may have been “marginalized” by the church, including the LGBTQ community and women.
He said during a July trip to South Korea that world leaders needed to do more to “limit polluting emissions,” according to Reuters.
The Vatican did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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