Pope Francis told a reporter that it is “an honour when Americans attack me.”
The pope made his comments to Nicolas Seneze, a reporter from La Croix, the French Catholic daily newspaper, during the flight from Rome to Maputo, Mozambique, on 4th September.
Seneze is author of Comment l’Amerique veut changer de pape, which can be translated as ‘how America wanted to change popes’. Seneze gave Pope Francis a copy of the book during the flight.
Pope Francis said he had heard about the book, but had not been able to find a copy. The volume, currently available only in French, went on sale the day of the papal flight.
The book presents the long list of accusations against Pope Francis made in August 2018 by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former nuncio to the United States, as one part of a concerted effort, led mainly by Catholics in the United States, to cast doubt on the legitimacy of Pope Francis’ ministry.
Seneze’s thesis is that “rigorist” Catholics, mainly wealthy, are opposed to Pope Francis’ emphasis on mercy over clear rules, his teaching on ethical problems with the way the world’s economy is working, and his overtures to Cuba and China.
Picture: Pope Francis greets journalists aboard his flight from Rome to Maputo, Mozambique, on 4th September 2019. Pictured in the background is Matteo Bruni, new director of the Vatican Press Office. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).