Pope Francis has blasted the “backwardness” of some conservatives in the U.S. Catholic Church, saying they have replaced faith with ideology and that a correct understanding of Catholic doctrine allows for change over time. Francis’ comments were an acknowledgment of the divisions in the U.S. Catholic Church, which has been split between progressives and conservatives who long found support in the doctrinaire papacies of St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI, particularly on issues of abortion and same-sex marriage. Many conservatives have blasted Francis’ emphasis and called them heretical. Francis made the comments in a private meeting with Portuguese members of his Jesuit religious order while visiting Lisbon on August 5; the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, which is vetted by the Vatican secretariat of state, published a transcript of the encounter. During the meeting, a Portuguese Jesuit told Francis that he had suffered during a recent sabbatical year in the United States because he came across many Catholics, including some U.S. bishops, who criticized Francis’ 10-year papacy as well as today’s Jesuits. Pope Francis acknowledged his point, saying there was a very strong, organized, and reactionary attitude in the U.S. church, which is backward. He warned that such an attitude leads to a climate of closure, which was erroneous.