"In the United States the situation is not easy: there is a very strong reactionary attitude," Pope Francis said during a private meeting with Jesuits in Lisbon. The conversation, which occurred at the beginning of the month, was transcribed by Civilta Cattolica, a Catholic media outlet.
The pope then maintained that "indietrismo (backwardness) is useless" because the doctrine is constantly evolving and that this change is inevitable, as it "develops from the roots upward."
The pope added that the "view of Church doctrine as monolithic is erroneous," saying that in earlier times some of his predecessors tolerated slavery, whereas today it is unacceptable. This was the same case as with the death penalty and the use of the nuclear bomb.
"Those American groups you talk about, so closed, are isolating themselves," he replied, without specifying names or positions, to one of his listeners. He also added that "instead of living by doctrine, by the true doctrine that always develops and bears fruit, they live by ideologies," and that:
When you abandon doctrine in life to replace it with an ideology, you have lost, you have lost as in war.