The Archbishop of Seville has warned Francis critics against dissenting from the successor of Peter, insisting that this Pope “has not diverged at all from the faith”.

– “Anyone who criticises the Pope for his closness to immigrants is revealing their true colours”

Monsignor Juan José Asenjo spoke August 15 to the Diario de Sevilla newspaper about the opposition to Pope Francis, but said the critics of this pontificate “are a minority”.

However, the naysayers “display a certain ecclesial dissent, which is a cause of pain for pastors and for many of the faithful”, Asenjo denounced.

“I have been a professor of ecclesiology. I know what Peter’s successor represents in the Church”, the archbishop continued.

“It’s the wrong way to dissent and to move away from the successor of Peter because some things do not fit one’s sensibility.

“The Pope has not diverged at all from the regula fidei, from the profession of faith.

“It is true that he is probably insisting a lot, because perhaps it is necessary, on the social dimension of the Gospel: closeness to immigrants, to those who suffer… All this is Christian. Anyone who criticises the Pope for this reason is revealing their true colours”, the archbishop lamented.

– Pleas for prayers for Spain as it struggles to overcome the “very sad circumstances” of the coronavirus pandemic

With regard to the coronavirus crisis, Asenjo revealed that in the worst months of confinement “I have been afraid for my family, for my priests, for the people who have been entrusted to me. And I have been very sorry for those who have been dying, the known and the unknown”.

“I have suffered for the dead and for the pain of their families. Many have died without a loving hand, without the embrace of a son or daughter, a husband or a wife. This adds a particular pain”, the archbishop deplored.

Asking for prayers for Spain as it struggles to bounce back from the health, social and economic effects of COVID-19, Asenjo insisted that “we have to ask Our Lady and the Lord to help us overcome these very sad circumstances that we are living through, this pandemic that is re-emerging, the winter that will be very hard for the poor”.

“And I also ask that our leaders, putting aside all personal or partisan interests, seek dialogue and consensus. The situation is very serious, dramatic. Everyone must do their best to reach agreements that guarantee peace, harmony, freedom, security and the common good of all Spaniards”, the prelate pleaded.

Asenjo continued by explaining that the needs of the poorest in these difficult weeks of the pandemic “have grown exponentially, but so has people’s support”.

“It’s the sensus fidelium. The sense of faith of the Christian people, which detects the real needs. People are helping”, he said.

“I invite the faithful to continue collaborating with Caritas, to be true Samaritans of our brothers, to get off the horse of our well-being as the good Samaritan.

“That man, on seeing the poor wounded man in the gutter, beaten to a pulp according to the Evangelist, took wine and oil out of his bag. With the wine he healed the wounds and with the oil he soothed them before bandaging them. Then he took him to the inn. We have to do the same in this very unhappy situation”, the archbishop stressed.

More on Novena on the Francis critics:

“Little purchase on either reality or substance”: Irish priest takes down conservative Pope Francis critics

Cardinal Scola calls attacks on Pope “a decisively negative phenomenon” that should be “eradicated as soon as possible”

Italian nun accuses Viganò of “throwing pearls before swine” by providing Catholic cover for Trump

“The Pope is the Pope”: Italian cardinal denounces “increasingly harsh and insolent attacks” on Francis


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PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.