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Pope says critics won’t stop him from pursuing vision for church

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By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis said he will continue pressing for a church that is open and understanding despite opposition from some clerics who “say no to everything.”

“They do their work and I do mine,” the pope said when asked, “What is your relationship with ultraconservatives in the church?”

The question was posed by Joaquin Morales Sola, a journalist for the Argentine newspaper La Nacion, in an interview published July 3. The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, published a translation of the interview July 5.

Most of the interview focused on issues related to Pope Francis’ home country and his relationship with Argentine President Mauricio Macri — “I have no problem with President Macri,” the pope said in the interview.

But Morales also asked about internal church matters, including criticisms of the pope.

“I want a church that is open, understanding, that accompanies families who are hurting,” Pope Francis said.

Some church leaders do not agree with his approach, but “I continue my course without looking over my shoulder,” he said, adding that he does not try to silence them. “I don’t cut off heads. I’ve never liked doing that.”

Besides, he said, he’s the pope. “You remove nails by putting pressure on the top. Or you set them aside to rest when they reach retirement age.”

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