Pope Francis said he is “honoured” by the fact that a group of conservative Catholics from the United States attack him. Source: Crux.
The Pope was speaking aboard a papal flight to Mozambique, the first stop of a three-nation swing through Africa, when he was presented a new book on conservative opposition to the papacy written by a French reporter on the flight.
“For me, it’s an honour that Americans are attacking me,” Francis told La Croix‘s Nicolas Seneze, author of How America Wanted to Change the Pope.
As Francis handed the book to one of his aides, he joked, “this is a bomb”.
After the Pope’s comments, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told journalists on the flight that “in an informal context the Pope wanted to say that he always considers criticisms an honour, particularly when it comes from important thinkers and, in this case, of an important nation.”
A long-time Vatican reporter from the French Catholic daily, Seneze told the Pope that he wanted to explain the roots of American opposition to the Argentine, which has the support of several right-wing news outlets. In his book, Seneze names EWTN, founded by the late Mother Angelica, and Canada-based LifeSiteNews.
The criticism against Francis is based on his cautious opening to allowing the divorced and remarried to receive the Sacraments, his emphasis on the environment, his strong condemnation of the death penalty, and his criticism of the capitalist economic order championed by US conservatives.
In his book, Seneze explains the origin of the hostility against Francis in terms of two documents by the Pope: Evangelii Gaudium, his first apostolic exhortation and considered the Magna Carta of his pontificate, and Laudato Si', an encyclical letter on the environment originally intended to ensure adoption of the 2015 Paris Agreement pertaining to climate change.
Seneze spoke to reporters after the Pope’s remarks. “I wanted to explain the difficulties between the Pope and Americans, and how they are attacking him,” he said.
During the flight, the Pope also prayed for the victims of Hurricane Dorian, especially those in the Bahamas.