It’s not the first time Pope Francis has distanced himself from ‘conservative’ bishops
July 7, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis said he won’t be slowed down by “ultra-conservatives” and they don’t cause him to “look over [his] shoulder” in a new interview with an Argentinian journalist who writes for La Nacion.
The remarks have caused a stir as the pope seemed to align himself with the more “liberal” wing of the Church, but it wasn’t the first time he has distanced himself from “conservative” bishops.
In October 2014, the same La Nacion reporter, Joaquín Morales Solá, asked Pope Francis if he was worried about the publication of Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church, a book written by five cardinals opposing Cardinal Walter Kasper’s proposal to liberalize the Church’s sacramental discipline in regards to the divorced and civilly remarried. Morales Solá labeled the book in opposition to Pope Francis’s opinions.
According to Morales Solá, Pope Francis didn’t answer that question directly, but said, “Everyone has something to contribute. I even enjoy debating with the very conservative, but intellectually well-formed bishops.”
The pope’s latest comments came when Morales Solá asked the pope about opposition from “ultra-conservatives.”
“They do their job and I do mine,” Pope Francis responded. “I want a Church that is open, understanding, that accompanies wounded families. They say no to everything. I go ahead, without looking over my shoulder.”
He then hinted at his approach to such “conservatives,” saying, “Nails are removed by applying pressure to the top…or, you set them aside to rest when the age of retirement arrives.”
Many may wonder if Pope Francis’s remarks are a response to the traditional Catholic group the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), which is not canonically recognized by the Church but has in recent years seemed to inch closer to fuller Communion with Rome. The pope’s remarks came as news circulated about a June 29 statement from SSPX Superior General Bishop Bernard Fellay lamenting the “great and painful confusion that currently reigns in the Church” and the promotion of doctrinal errors “by a large number of pastors, including the Pope himself.”
But that may be unlikely given that the pope’s 2014 remarks were made in regard to bishops at the 2014 Synod on the Family, in which the SSPX clearly were not involved.