Pope Francis: Conservatives Have a ‘Suicidal Attitude’

Pope Francis pauses during an interview with The Associated Press at The Vatican, Tuesday,
AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

ROME — Pope Francis told CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell that conservatives are willfully blind and manifest a “suicidal attitude” in their narrowmindedness.

In an interview set to air Sunday on 60 Minutes, the pope asserts that a conservative “is someone who clings to something and does not want to see beyond that. It is a suicidal attitude.”

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

Pope Francis had never before sat down for an extensive interview, one-on-one, with a U.S. television network during the course of his 11-year pontificate.

Pope Francis has never hidden his disdain for Americans, and, in August 2023, he publicly lamented the “backwardism” of conservative Catholics in the United States.

“The situation is not easy in the United States, where there is a very strong reactionary attitude,” the pontiff told a group of Jesuits. “It is organized and shapes the way people belong, even emotionally.”

“I would like to remind those people that ‘backwardism’ is useless, and we need to understand that there is an appropriate evolution in the understanding of matters of faith and morals,” the pope said.

“Our understanding of the human person changes with time, and our consciousness also deepens,” he stated. “The other sciences and their evolution also help the Church in this growth in understanding.”

“The view of Church doctrine as monolithic is erroneous,” he added.

“The problems that moralists have to examine today are very serious, and, to deal with them, they have to take the risk of making changes,” he asserted.

A “climate of closure” can be experienced in some situations in the United States, he continued, 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,” he said, in an apparent reference to conservative or traditional Catholics.

Those American groups “are isolating themselves,” he said. “Instead of living by doctrine, by the true doctrine that always develops and bears fruit, they live by ideologies.”

In late April, CBS released another segment of his upcoming hour-long interview, in which Francis asserts that climate change skeptics are “stupid” to refute compelling evidence of a climate emergency.

“Some people are stupid (necios)…even if you show them research, they don’t believe it,” the pontiff tells O’Donnell when asked what he would say to the deniers of climate change.

“Why? Because they don’t understand the situation or because of their interests, but climate change exists,” the 87-year-old pope asserts.

During the conversation, the pope is also asked what he thinks about those who describe the violence in Gaza as a “genocide.” Francis repeats the term “genocide” and then notes that he calls the Catholic parish in Gaza every evening at around 7:00 p.m. Rome time for an update.

“There are about 600 people there, and they tell me what’s going on,” he says. “It’s very hard; it’s very hard.”

“Food goes in, but they have to fight for it,” he says. “It’s very hard.”


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