Pope Francis, Saint Peter's Square

Pope Francis lamented the "strong reactionary attitude" of some Catholics in the United States who refuse to embrace change in the Church, in comments published Monday.

The 86-year-old pontiff was speaking to Jesuits in Lisbon during World Youth Day on August 5, but his comments have only now been made public in the magazine Civilta Cattolica.

One Jesuit asked the pope about criticism of his own leadership by some senior American Catholics, many of whom complain Francis is not outspoken enough on abortion and too compassionate towards homosexuals and divorcees.

"You have seen that in the United States the situation is not easy: there is a very strong reactionary attitude," Francis replied.

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