Pope Francis accuses conservative US bishops of exhibiting 'suicidal attitude'

Pontiff suggests critics 'closed up inside a dogmatic box'

Pope Francis looks on during his weekly general audience on Sept. 20, 2023, at St Peter's Square in the Vatican.
Pope Francis looks on during his weekly general audience on Sept. 20, 2023, at St Peter's Square in the Vatican. | TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis recently hit out at conservative Catholic bishops in the United States who have criticized him, suggesting they exhibit what he described as a "suicidal attitude."

During a viral preview of an interview CBS' "60 Minutes" did with the pontiff that is slated to air on Sunday, host Norah O'Donnell asks Francis to respond to "conservative bishops" in the U.S. who "oppose your new effects to revisit teachings and traditions."

Defining a conservative as someone who "clings to something and does not want to see beyond that," Francis said they are showing "a suicidal attitude."

"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," he continued.

Francis has demoted vocal U.S. critics of his papacy, such as Cardinal Raymond Burke, who was stripped of his privileges, and Bishop Joseph Strickland, who was removed as bishop of Tyler, Texas, last year.

In another preview clip CBS released Friday, O'Donnell asked Francis to comment on the controversy that erupted in response to the "Fiducia Supplicans" guidance the Vatican's doctrinal office issued in December.

The guidance permits priests to "bless couples in irregular situations and same-sex couples without officially validating their status or changing in any way the Church's perennial teaching on marriage."

The guidance drew an adverse reaction from Catholic bishops around the world, mainly in Africa and Eastern Europe, prompting the Vatican to issue a five-page clarification explaining that "Fiducia Supplicans" was not an endorsement of homosexuality.

Francis echoed the Vatican's earlier clarification to O'Donnell, claiming that the guidance was not a blessing of the homosexual union itself but rather of the individuals involved.

"What I allowed was not to bless the union; that cannot be done, because that is not the sacrament," he said. "I cannot. The Lord made it that way. But to bless each person? Yes. The blessing is for everyone."

"To bless a homosexual-type union, however, goes against the given right, against the law of the Church," he continued. "But to bless each person? Why not? The blessing is for all. Some people were scandalized by this, but why? Everyone, everyone."

He also added that homosexuality is "a human fact."

CBS has promoted the papal interview as "the first time a pope has given an in-depth, one-on-one interview to a U.S. broadcast network," noting that other topics addressed included the "wars in Israel and Gaza, Ukraine, and the migration crises around the world and on the U.S. southern border."

"The migrant has to be received," Francis said regarding the illegal immigration crisis on the U.S. southern border, adding that "maybe you have to send them back, I don't know."

"But each case ought to be considered humanely," he said.

Francis described Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's attempt to shut down the Catholic nonprofit Annunciation House in El Paso as "madness."

Texas accuses the charity of harboring fugitives and undermining law enforcement's attempts to curb illegal immigration, which the organization has denied.

Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to

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