A New York Times headline reading, “I’m not a catholic, I’m a conservative” has made the rounds of Twitter over the past few days.
The headline is the latest twist in the war of words between the two sects of conservative Christianity that are fighting over who is a true catholic and who is not.
The feud has been raging since February, when Pope Francis said in his encyclical on the church’s role in the world that it should “never be a tool for a politician or a cult to control the world.”
Francis also said that, “If a man is a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, and he loves the Lord and is baptized, he must not be condemned to hell.”
The pope’s words caused an outcry among conservatives, who accused the pope of pandering to their group by implying that Catholics who practice abortion, euthanasia and other forms of euthanasia were not real Christians.
In an interview with CNN last month, Pope Francis denied the notion that his statements were pandering.
He said, “The pope’s not a believer, he’s a believer in the gospel, and so it’s not my position.
I think he’s right in saying, no, you’re not a true Christian, but you have to love the Lord.”
Since then, the Vatican has issued numerous statements on the issue.
On Monday, the pope said that he believes it is not a sin to practice euthanasia, and added that “I believe that the Catholic Church is a church that believes in the mercy of God and that we must love and pray for the suffering of the poor and the vulnerable.”
He added that the Church must “never stop fighting for the poor.”
Last month, The Church of England issued a statement saying that it “has not condemned anyone who performs euthanasia for any reason.”
The statement came days after Cardinal Peter Saunders, the head of the church, told reporters that it was “wrong to say that euthanasia is wrong.”
The pope has also come under fire for using a speech to the Vatican conference of bishops last month to call for Catholics to “stand united with all people and to defend the dignity of all human beings.”
In an op-ed piece published last week in the American Catholic News, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer said that the pope’s remarks should be seen as a way to “make the Catholic church the voice of the people,” not a voice of “the church.”
The Pope’s remarks were also criticized by a number of conservative politicians, including House Speaker John Boehner and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who said they should not be interpreted as pandering or as endorsing the practice of euthanasia.