Francis today said he is “honoured” by the fact that a group of conservative, right-leaning Catholics from the United States attack him.
The pope was speaking aboard a papal flight to Mozambique, the first stop of a three-nation swing through Africa, when he was presented a new book on conservative opposition to the papacy written by a French reporter on the flight.
“For me, it’s an honour that Americans are attacking me,” Francis told La Croix‘s Nicolas Seneze, author of How America Wanted to Change the Pope.
As Francis handed the book to one of his aides, he joked, “this is a bomb.”
After the pope’s comments, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told journalists on the papal flight that “in an informal context the pope wanted to say that he always considers criticisms an honour, particularly when it comes from important thinkers and, in this case, of an important nation.”
Seneze spoke to reporters after the pope’s remarks.
“I wanted to explain the difficulties between the pope and Americans, and how they are attacking him,” he said.
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