"In an unscripted outburst, the president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference has expressed his frustration at mounting criticism of Pope Francis among Catholics, suggesting that those who do not appreciate his style of teaching and government should embrace Protestantism.
Speaking at an annual meeting with media in Perugia, on January 25, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti said: 'Criticism is fine, but this destructivism, no. If someone doesn’t like this pope let him say so, because he’s free to choose other paths.'
'There are too many people talking about the pope,' the cardinal told journalists, in comments reflecting his perception of a growing disaffectedness among Catholics with the current pontificate.
Cardinal Bassetti continued: 'I said to someone, ‘Make the choice to be evangelical, if you don’t like the Catholic Church, if this boat is too tight.’ Our Protestant brethren have neither pope nor bishop; let everyone make their own choices. Enough complaining, it’s useless anyway.'"
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