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Pope renews critique of ‘rigid’ Catholicism [Corrected]

September 13, 2021

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CWN Editor's Note: Pope Francis emphasized the “creativity of the Gospel” in a September 13 address in Slovakia, and sharply criticized “defensive” or “rigid” Catholicism. “The Church is not a fortress,” he said, and a more creative approach to the Gospel should “help us to escape from our self-absorption.”

To illustrate the danger of an approach that is “rigid and self-enclosed,” the Pope took the highly unusual step of advancing public criticism of one of his own representatives. He referred to a letter from a bishop, complaining about a papal nuncio, and saying:

We were 400 years under the Turks and we suffered. Then 50 under communism and we suffered. But the seven years with this nuncio were worse than the other two.
The Pope did not name the bishop who made that criticism, or the nuncio at whom it was directed. But he asked rhetorically: “Sometimes I wonder: how many people can say the same about the bishop they have, or the parish priest?”

Correction An earlier version of this report indicated that the Pope was reporting criticism of his nuncio in Slovakia. In fact, the Pope said that the critical letter from the unnamed bishop was written “some time ago,” and added: “I am sure that no one would ever know where it happened.” The reference to a country under Turkish rule for 400 years does not apply to Slovakia. So Pope Francis was telling a story about a nuncio in another country, at another time.

The above note supplements, highlights, or corrects details in the original source (link above). About CWN news coverage.


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