Pope Francis stunned journalists on Saturday when he “joked” that he was the devil during a trip to Lithuania.
Update: An earlier version of this article stated that the Pope had “acknowledged longstanding rumors of his dark, Satanic leanings.” This was inaccurate and has since been removed.
The Pontiff was greeting journalists when he stopped to recieve a book about former Pope John Paul II by Polish photographer journalist Grzegorz Galazka.
As Francis received the book from Galazka, he said: “Pope John Paul II was a saint, I am the devil.”
Last year, Francis sent shockwaves through the Catholic Church when he warned that “having a personal relationship with Jesus is dangerous and very harmful.”
Yahoo News reports: Laughing, Galazka immediately corrected him: “No, you are both saints! You are both saints!”
Francis’ quip appeared to acknowledge that he has his detractors, particularly among conservative Catholics who long for the more doctrinaire papacies of John Paul and Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.
The criticism of Francis by conservatives has grown more vocal recently amid the church’s sex abuse scandals and the distress over his opening to letting divorced and civilly remarried Catholics receive Communion.
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