In one of his most pointed answers during his inflight press conference from Madagascar, the Pope addressed the subject of his critics, how he responds to them, and whether he is concerned about schism within the Church.
The question was raised in response to his remark on the plane to Mozambique last week when he told a journalist: “For me it’s an honor if Americans attack me.”
Here below is the full question and answer (working translation by Hannah Brockhaus and Edward Pentin):
Jason Horowitz (New York Times): Good morning, Holy Father. On the plane to Maputo, you acknowledged being under attack by a sector of the American Church. Evidently, there are strong criticisms, and there are even some cardinals and bishops, TV [stations], Catholics, American web sites — many criticisms. Even some very close allies have spoken of a plot against you, some of your allies in the Italian curia. Is there something these critics don’t understand about your pontificate, or is there something that you have learned from the criticisms [coming from] the United States? Another thing, are you afraid of a schism in the American Church and if yes, is there something that you could do, dialogue to help avoid it?
Pope Francis: First of all, criticisms always help, always, when one receives a criticism, immediately he should make a self-critique and say this: to me, is it true or is it not true, until what point? Of criticisms, I always see the advantages. Sometimes you get angry, but the advantages are there. ….