Francis aboard the papal plane to Mozambique

Pontifical Academy for Life praises “bomb” book on conservative US Francis opposition

The Pontifical Academy for Life has endorsed on social media a new book claiming that a network of conservative United States churchmen, politicians, theologians and media outlets is trying to remove Francis as Pope.

Driving the news

Early Saturday morning, the Pontifical Academy for Life tweeted from its French account a link to a review of La Croix journalist Nicolas Senèze’s new volume Comment l’Amérique veut changer de pape (“How America Wants to Change Popes”).

That tweet was accompanied by a quote from the review on La Croix, describing as “brilliant” Senèze’s uncovering of the “battle” American conservatives are waging on Pope Francis and his reforms.

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Go deeper

The Pontifical Academy for Life tweet was just the latest chapter in a dream launch for Senèze’s book.

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Earlier this week, on the papal plane to Mozambique, Senèze asked the Pope about the book in person.

“It’s an honour that the Americans attack me”, Francis replied.

Handing a copy of the book to his aides, the Pope added jokingly, “this is a bomb”.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni later clarified with journalists on the papal flight that “in an informal context the Pope wanted to say that he always considers criticisms an honour, particularly when it comes from important thinkers and, in this case, of an important nation”.

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Why it matters

In his own comments to journalists, Senèze explained that in his book “I wanted to explain the difficulties between the Pope and Americans, and how they are attacking him”.

“How America Wants to Change Popes” exposes the opposition that Pope Francis has received since becoming Pope in 2013, from churchmen such as Cardinal Raymond Burke and media outlets such as the National Catholic Register, Catholic News Agency and LifeSite News.

That opposition has come out of Francis’ cautious but determined reforms on issues like communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, climate change and interfaith dialogue.

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President of the Pontifical Academy for Life Vincenzo Paglia has been a key ally of Francis’ in the reforms.

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