Pope Francis Says American Conservatism Has Become a ‘Suicidal Attitude’ | Video

Pope Francis responded Sunday to naysayers who take issue with his relatively progressive tenure as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, saying conservative bishops in the U.S. have a self-destructive mindset when it comes moving society forward.

“Conservative is one who clings to something and does not want to see beyond that,” Francis said while breaking down the term’s definition during his anticipated “60 Minutes” interview with Norah O’Donnell.

“It is a suicidal attitude,” he continued, “because one thing is to take tradition into account, to consider situations from the past, but quite another is to be closed up inside a dogmatic box.”

Conservatives and their criticisms of Francis — who was elected as pope in 2013 — mostly stems from the actions he’s taken in his leadership, which have ultimately changed the structure of the Church and its history. While he doesn’t approve of women being ordained as a priest or deacons, he’s placed more women in power roles in the Church than any of the popes before him. He also denounced laws that criminalize homosexuality and has made the Church more welcoming for members of the LGBTQIA+ community. He does, however, reject the union of same-sex marriages, but sees nothing wrong with blessing the individuals.

“What I allowed was not to bless the union,” Francis said, unpacking the remarks he made about homosexuality during a 2013 press conference. “That cannot be done because that is not the sacrament. I cannot. The Lord made it that way. But to bless each person, yes. The blessing is for everyone. For everyone. To bless a homosexual-type union, however, goes against the given right, against the law of the Church. But to bless each person, why not? The blessing is for all. Some people were scandalized by this. But why? Everyone! Everyone!”

As far as his thoughts on women pursuing motherhood through surrogacy, Francis said, “It is not authorized.”

“Sometimes surrogacy has become a business, and that is very bad. It is very bad,” Francis said, adding that “adoption” is another option for those wanting to become a parent.

“I would say that in each case the situation should be carefully and clearly considered, consulting medically and then morally as well,” Francis said. “I think there is a general rule in these cases, but you have to go into each case in particular to assess the situation, as long as the moral principle is not skirted.”

Overall, Francis explained that his open-mindedness is rooted in believing that everyone deserves access to Christ and that there’s no hierarchy when it comes to sin.

“You have to be open to everything. The Church is like that: Everyone, everyone, everyone,” Francis said. “That so-and-so is a sinner? Me too. I am a sinner. Everyone! The Gospel is for everyone. If the Church places a customs officer at the door, that is no longer the Church of Christ. Everyone.”

He added that the positive work from humans across the world gives him faith that society will get better.

“Everything. You see tragedies, but you also see so many beautiful things,” Francis said. “You see heroic mothers, heroic men, men who have hopes and dreams, women who look to the future. That gives me a lot of hope. People want to live. People forge ahead. And people are fundamentally good. We are all fundamentally good. Yes, there are some rogues and sinners, but the heart itself is good.”

Watch Pope Francis’ full “60 Minutes” interview in the video above.

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