Pope Francis has slammed conservative American Christians as “backwards” during a conversation with a group of Jesuits in an interview published Monday, and called for more progressivism in the church in the US.
Asked to provide an example during his interview, the pope said Americans must pay less attention to “sins of the flesh” and more to other sins.
“It is clear that today the issue of homosexuality is very strong, and the sensitivity in this regard changes according to historical circumstances,” he said.
“But what I don’t like at all, in general, is that we look at the so-called ‘sin of the flesh’ with a magnifying glass, just as we have done for so long for the sixth commandment,” he said. “If you exploited workers, if you lied or cheated, it didn’t matter, and instead sins below the waist were relevant.”
“I am not afraid of sexualized society,” the pope declared. “No, I am afraid of how we relate to it.”
The pope slammed Americans for their conservatism, demanding the church in America take on a more progressive stance.
“The situation is not easy in the United States where there is a very strong reactionary attitude,” the pontiff said. “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 declared to the Jesuit community present in Portugal during the recent celebration of World Youth Day.
As examples, Francis said that “today it is a sin to possess atomic bombs” and “the death penalty is a sin,” but “it was not so before,” in reference to changes he has made in Church teaching.
Doctrine “progresses, expands, and consolidates with time and becomes firmer, but is always progressing,” he continued.
“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.