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Pope Francis says it is ‘an honor if the Americans attack me’


In this file photo, Pope Francis attends a conference on the interreligious dialogue at the Jesuits house in Naples, Italy, Friday, June 21, 2019. (ANdrew Medichini/AP)

Pope Francis said it’s “an honor if the Americans attack me” while flying on the papal plane Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

The head of the Catholic Church was referring to criticism stemming from the U.S. Catholic Church’s conservative right-wing after he was given a copy of Nicolas Seneze’s “How America Wants to Change the Pope.”

When giving Francis the book, Seneze — a reporter who covers the Vatican for the French Catholic publication La Croix — remarked that he aimed to highlight issues between Francis and the U.S. Church, and the pope using “spiritual weapons” to respond.

“For me, it’s an honor if the Americans attack me,” Francis responded, calling the book “a bombshell.”

Seneze’s book tracks U.S. conservatives’ criticism of the native Argentinian.

Francis’ naysayers — some of whom have accused him of heresy — take issue with, among other factors: his outreach to migrants and China, his approach toward the environment and free-market capitalism, alleged neglect of sexual misconduct allegations against Church figures, and the relaxation of certain church rules.

Those opposing Francis, the first Latin American pope, hope to elect what AP described as “a conservative, doctrine-minded churchman as the next pope."

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni doubled down on the “informal context” in which Francis’ remarks were made.

“The pope wanted to say that he always considers criticism an honor, particularly when it comes from authoritative thinkers, and in this case from an important country,” said Bruni.

With News Wire Services.