Francis: ‘It is an honor when Americans attack me’

From the Catholic Herald:

Pope Francis: ‘It is an honor when Americans attack me’

The Pope’s spokesman later clarified that the Pontiff ‘always considers criticisms an honor’, particularly from ‘an important nation’

Pope Francis told a reporter that it is “an honor 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 Sept. 4 from Rome to Maputo, Mozambique.

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.  [The book is stuffed with rubbish from professional bomb throwers like Beans.]

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, [B as in B.  S as in S.] his teaching on ethical problems with the way the world’s economy is working, and his overtures to Cuba and China. [You mean the Chinese, who are now being crushed by the government?]

After telling Seneze that he had not yet read the book, the pope told him, “It’s an honor when the Americans attack me.”

And handing the book on to an aide, the pope commented, “It’s a bomb.” [Whatever that means.]

Shortly after Pope Francis returned to the front of the plane after greeting each member of the media, Matteo Bruni, his spokesman, came to the journalists with a statement.

“In an informal context, the pope wanted to say that he always considers criticisms an honor, particularly when they come from authoritative thinkers — in this case from an important nation,” Bruni said.  [Uh huh.]

A couple things.

What would Francis say about someone out there who lumps huge groups of people into one category?  “Argentinians are….”

There is an old phrase about politicians who accidentally tell the truth.

It could be that this phrase tells us something about what Francis really thinks about Americans.

Oh… and how many new cardinals did he select for these USA?

Okay, so this “I’m honored when Americans attack me” is just a passing remark.

Meanwhile, let all be reminded that we are duty bound to honor the Pope.

Among all the prelates of the whole Church throughout the world, the Pope has “primacy of honor”.

Let us continue to give him due honor.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Thomas S says:

    So ungrateful to the country that gave him Theodore McCarrick! Where would His Holiness be without that august prelate machinations? The peripheries of Buenos Aires?

  2. Dan says:

    I pray daily for Pope Francis and his Holy Intentions.

    I also pray that they stop letting him on planes. Every time he flys we get one of these to explain away.

  3. brasscow says:

    I wonder what Pope Benedict’s response would have been if posed the same question.

    Surely it is a badge of honor to be thought so immeasurably low by someone who repeatedly shows they also have little respect for traditional canonical teaching of the Church.

    Maybe we should have hats made…

  4. There are lots of worthy causes Catholics in the U.S. can support with their funds, including ways to support the Church. As far as I know, there is no requirement that any of that money find its way to Rome — is there?

    [Hardly! And I remind the readership about the TMSM!]

  5. brasscow says:

    Oh… and I know what logo I won’t use on the hats we have made!

  6. Benedict Joseph says:

    There is always a mixed response to the dropped mask, at least initially. When over time and various circumstances it continues to fall one is left to wonder not why the mask was used, but why it continues to be employed at all, particularly when there is the inevitable cumbersome cleanup to endure.
    Yes. Due honor.

  7. Hidden One says:

    I am grateful that my work doesn’t include frequently making off-the-cuff remarks to journalists.

  8. MitisVis says:

    It just might be that the Holy Father may (with his own appointments) be surrounded with some that are misinforming him, or have a dead set agenda. When posed with logical and truthful questions (sometimes 4) it is often that those intent on their own agenda, lacking a logical or truth based rebuttal, resort to personal attacks. One could never fall for the trap of diverting the issue to a personal squabble nor engage in a tit for tat and prove their point, but instead realize you must be doing it right and your logical and truthful point was recognized. The pope’s spokesman Matteo Bruni commented
    “In an informal context, the pope wanted to say that he always considers criticisms an honor, particularly when they come from authoritative thinkers — in this case from an important nation.”
    To which I for one respond, Thank you and God Bless you Pope Francis,

  9. Jonathan Marshall says:

    “Let us continue to give him due honor”
    Quite right and proper, Father – but it is getting to be more and more difficult to do so…

  10. tho says:

    General Juan Peron, the patriarch of modern Argentina, didn’t admire America either, he saved his accolades for Benito Mussolini and Adolph Hitler. Maybe there is a strain of anti-Americanism in people from Argentina, who obtain a high rank. It is time for American bishops to speak out on behalf of Americans, who saved and fed the world during times of terrible distress.
    Do any of the people in positions of authority realize what the world would be like today without America?
    Also that grin in his picture seems to capsulize what he thinks of all of us.

  11. wmeyer says:

    Long ago, in my distant youth, a neighbor was fond of saying: I just consider the source, as the man said when the ass kicked him.
    It’s always interesting, and sometimes amusing, when the log in our eye prevents us seeing that we have just spoken in the spirit of that which we condemn. And this from someone who should have had more than a little schooling in logic and rhetoric.

  12. Mightnotbeachristiantou says:

    I have wonder about a book that is supposed to be an American criticism, but is only available in French. It’s that a French criticism?

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  13. JumpJet says:

    Peter’s Pence…buh bye!!


  14. Amerikaner says:

    Hhmmm… does the rich Americans refer to a dig about the U.S. Catholic Foundation and the donors refusing to shell over $25M for the scandal-plagued hospital in Rome despite the Holy Father’s strong request for the funds?

  15. dahveed says:

    I will continue to give His Holiness and his office due honor, although I think that the latter is due the greater amount, just now. I still pray daily for the Holy Father’s conversion, and the pious, traditional practices of it, that he might save his soul, and help me save mine. Having said that, family money that might have gone to Peter’s Pence in the past will, for now, go to more worthy causes.

  16. jaykay says:

    “particularly when they come from authoritative thinkers”

    Umm, that’d be the Dubia, no?

  17. Semper Gumby says:

    God bless Servant of God Fr. Vincent Capodanno, Killed in Action in 1967 while serving with the U.S. Marine Corps. Posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

    The Grunt Padre. ‘Merica!

  18. chantgirl says:

    Francis’ comments lead me to think that he doesn’t see Americans, the rich, or conservatives as his spiritual children, but as political enemies.

    I see your bully pulpit and raise you one Bux Protocol.

  19. mo7 says:

    In the parable of the prodigal son, our Lord expressed the Father’s love for the obedient son too. While we should honor His holiness as the successor of Peter, I’m hurt that he is willing to distance himself from anyone.

  20. Legisperitus says:

    I just know that if I handed someone something during a flight and said it was a bomb, I wouldn’t get away with it that easily.

  21. RLseven says:

    It always comes back to money, doesn’t it? Where we give our money reflects what we value. It’s a power we have, even regarding the Church. As I’ve posted before, I withdrew my donations to my parish and diocese in favor of Catholic organizations that I can support. Here, some readers are doing the same with Rome. It’s one way we take a stand. The good thing is, in doing so we are learning about, reflecting on, praying about who and what we believe in and support– which is better than blindly giving our money away. Can’t accuse us of being “lukewarm” Catholics!!

    Fr. Z, I appreciate your comments about giving due honor to Pope Francis.

  22. SBFagan says:

    I’m having a hard time dealing with a lot of things coming out – or not coming out – of the Vatican lately, but to stay on topic, why on earth is the Pope biting the hand that is literally feeding him at this point?

  23. teomatteo says:

    Many years ago when us kids were in front of the t.v. oooing and ahhhing over some celebrity (Sonny & Cher maybe?) my father disinterestly walked by us and muttered: “there isnt a person alive that i would walk across a street to meet that I wouldnt make ’em meet me halfway….except the pope.”
    I thought that was pretty impressive of him. Not anymore.

  24. LorrieRob says:

    I increasingly respect the decision that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI made in resigning. I always thought it was prayerful but, like all of us, I have been horrified to see what the Church has been revealed to be. I am so grateful for God’s timing. I was received as a convert in 2010 from the Anglican tradition having left the Episcopal Church in 2004. I do not believe I would be Catholic today if the timing were later. I would have been unable to see past Pope Francis’ quasi heresy and Progressive political agenda. He is a product of his background and sadly does not like the America that he doesn’t even understand..nor do the Progressives at large.

    From the recent book of Peter Seewald “Last Testament” I considered for the first time that Pope Benedict did not abandon his service as Pope just the active role. By remaining in residence in the Vatican Garden from which he prays , by his presence he gives witness to the traditional church. Perhaps his presence even inhibits Pope Francis from even grander changes. It is so clear that Pope Francis ‘s personal ideology is allowing all of the other Progressives to come out fully in the open believing they have won over the Church. Taylor Marshall’s recent book “Infiltration” captures a lot of information that shows how hopeless a reform of the corruption of the upper level leadership was. Pope Benedict was powerless against these forces which were against him and God seems to want exposed.

    So I thank God for His timing. It is Christ’s church not Pope Francis’…so sad but God will take this and use it for the good of His Church…but it’s going to be bumpy and I am not sure what it’s going to look like in the end.

  25. jaykay says:

    Semper G: indeed, and also Fr. Emil Kapaun:

    Those darn ‘Mericans, always attacking. They need a lesson in Mercy, I reckon.

  26. jaykay says:

    Ooops, meant to include a link to the Marshall Plan but… hey ..

  27. Semper Gumby says:

    RLseven wrote: “It always comes back to money, doesn’t it?”

    That depends on the person and the situation.

  28. Cy says:

    (Hey mightnotbeachristiantou beat me to gold star! Do you ever award two in a day?)

    Said His Holiness:

    “Those wealthy Americans; wasting their money on church fineries; think how much it would instead help the poor.”

    Said he without realizing the irony.

  29. Credoh says:

    It’s something Admiral Yamamoto was wise enough not to say (at least on the record).

  30. veritas vincit says:

    We have to recognize that the Church has had a run of exceptional Popes, certainly the last 2 and likely most of the Popes going back to, say, Blessed Pius IX. Sadly, Pope Francis historically is more of an average Pope (who is, of course due the honor of his office).

  31. Beltway Catholic says:

    One ought not abandon his cross, even a Pope.

  32. Ipse Dixit says:

    Isn’t it a wee bit presumptuous and arrogant to ALWAYS consider criticisms an honor? Does his holiness exclude the possibility that a criticism might EVER be warranted and perhaps even a reason to grow in humility (not honor) when an error has been pointed out? His initial comment and the clarification even more so reflect an attitude that any criticism is a “badge of honor” which only makes sense if the criticism is presumed to always come from individuals whose opinions or observations should be regarded as loathsome or despicable. To apply such presumptions to entire countries only compounds the hubris inherent in the attitude about any (all, apparently) of his critics.

  33. TonyO says:

    If the Pope is expressing a delight in being criticized by Americans, I am willing to oblige his preferences, purely in charity and kindness, of course. Goodness knows there is no lack of material upon which to build honorable criticism. He has been over-indulgent in giving us fodder to criticize.

  34. Felipe says:

    I just think back to when he said that those who repeatedly accuse the church were: “the friends, cousins and relatives of the devil.” So…… it’s an honor now? I’m so confused.

  35. bobbird says:

    Everyone who makes comments, including Fr. Z., I assume are aware of the APPROVED messages Heaven has sent us from: Pope Leo in 1884, Fatima in 1917, Akita in 1971. Why did JP II consecrate “The world” and NOT Russia in 1984 to the Imm Heart? Because of the failure to consecrate Russia when it was needed decades earlier, she had indeed “spread her errors throughout the world.” Note Stalin & Bella Dodd in all that. That is, abortion, contraception, euthanasia, socialism, etc. were now a world-wide phenom. As such, the Akita messages warn us of an internal war within the Church. And we are told of the FINAL fight between Heaven and hell as being over the FAMILY. Things are pretty obvious. If the exact hour is only known to the Father, yet we are also warned to note “the signs of the times.”

  36. RLseven says:

    Ipse Dixit: I took this a different way. I wonder if possibly it’s a language issue, but I took it to mean– “honor” as an opportunity to pay attention to what is said, reflect honestly, and possibly change. And in that way, it is a humble approach. I thought he was implying that he pays attention to what Americans say because he respects us. (The photo above might reflect how Fr Z interpreted his comment, but it was obviously not taken when he said those words.)

    Felipe: The accusations he spoke of were toward the Church. He didn’t say that people who accuse him (personally or as pope) are evil. I think he listens. To us and to God.

  37. WarriorSpirit says:

    I honor and respect the OFFICE of the pope, but this particular “pope”….not so much. If he truly feels it’s an “honor when Americans attack him,” perhaps he’d be open to welcoming more Americans to the Vatican??

  38. Semper Gumby says:

    jaykay: Good point about Fr. Kapaun.

    Great comments Ipse Dixit, TonyO, Legisperitus et al.

  39. JonathanTX says:

    I’ve been rereading Paschendi Dominici gregis, and Taylor Marshall’s Infiltration the past several days, and I sadly and reluctantly can come to no other conclusion than that Bergolio is only the Pope of the Modernist religion, and not the Catholic Faith founded by Our Blessed Lord.

  40. acardnal says:

    Kudos to SemperGumby because he reads the comments above BEFORE commenting himself. I often see comments by readers here of comments already commented.

  41. Cincture says:

    “the pope wanted to say that he always considers criticisms an honor, particularly when they come from authoritative thinkers”
    Of course on the very same day he identified Cardinal Muller as “like a child.”
    The response was priceless:
    “I think that the Pope is a good man and I like him from my heart, especially for everything that he does for the poor and the wounded. Whether many or few in his own surroundings are ‘children’ in the sense of Jesus (Luke 18:15-17) is known to God alone.”

    I also recommend reading the translation of the Cardinal’s recent interview, at a time, as FrZ mentions in another post, that the Germans are heading to schism.

  42. cantus says:


    I wonder if Pope Francis will be “honored” still if he had any inclination what the last judgement will be like? I pity him, just as I pity all who are horribly wrong in their interpretation of the laws of the church. I pray for him, and hope. And despite our prayers the floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bad religious.

    God have mercy on him and all…. indeed those in most need.

  43. Marion Ancilla Mariae II says:

    Due reverence for the Pope . . . even though His Holiness refuses to show due respect for anything or anyone else, . . . except for Planet Earth.

    Nevertheless, this is what Jesus asks of me, and I make sure I deliver.

    Nothing more to Peter’s Pence. Or to my parish. (Because Bishop Wilton Gregory, who appears to be sympathetic toward greater LGBT recognition in the Church, gets a share of it.) Contributions to support my parish go directly into the name of my pastor. (Pay to the Order of ___ Rev. Francis X. McIlhenny ~~~~~~) Probably won’t be tax deductible, but that’s not important, anymore.

    Other contributions go to the K of C Emergency Fund; various Pro-Life causes; and to the Archdioceses of regions affected by natural disasters. I make sure that the Catholic Charities of my Archdioceses doesn’t support or “partner with” operations that intentionally do evil, calling it good. If ever my Catholic Charities does that, I’ll quit sending to them. I quit sending to Catholic Relief Services a long time ago.

  44. Cincture says:

    Fr Z These posts and comments seem to be left behind as we move forward.
    I am following my post to this post with the following:
    Sources close to the German bishops’ conference told CNA that there was concern among several bishops that creating a venue to vote against Church teaching could create “unrealistic expectations” for change, and even “sow the seeds of dissent between the particular and universal Church.”

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