On Saturday, Pope Francis claimed that a ‘rigidity’ in Christian lifestyle is causing the religion’s global decline amidst a “minefield of misunderstanding and hatred,” ABC News reports.
Pope Francis claimed that Christians are “no longer the only ones that produce culture, no longer the first nor the most listened to.” As a result, he says, Christians are turning to rigidity in order to cover for their own issues, with “rigidity and imbalance [fueling] one another in a vicious cycle…and these days, the temptation to rigidity has become so apparent.”
This “rigidity,” Francis claims, “is born of fear from change and ends up disseminating stakes and obstacles in the ground of the common good, turning it into a minefield of misunderstanding and hatred.”
The pope’s statements further reflect the growing divides within the Catholic Church as opposition grows to his more liberal and secular approach to faith. Francis has criticized the idea of tradition, saying that it “is not static, it’s dynamic.” This outlook has manifested in his attempts to soften the church’s stances on such issues as divorce, as well as other hot-button political issues such as immigration, to the point that he has clashed with several other world leaders, including President Donald Trump.