Pope Francis warned Sept. 10 that ideology is “infiltrating” the religious teaching of some quarters of the U.S. Catholic Church, and said that in past centuries such infiltrations have led to schisms.
In a press conference aboard the papal flight back to Rome after his three-nation visit to Southern Africa, the pontiff said that while he was unafraid of schism, he was also praying that one would not occur. Asked about conservative U.S. Catholic groups that vocally criticize his papacy, the pope said that some critique him for stances on social issues that are identical to the stances taken by his predecessor Pope John Paul II. “The things I say on social matters are the same that John Paul II said. The same. I copy him,” said Francis. “They say, ‘too Communist pope.’ ”