In an interview with Vatican News published March 13, 2018, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, reflected on the five years of the Pontificate of Pope Francis,
“I would like to say that the fundamental characteristic of this Pontificate is precisely joy, a joy that does not arise evidently from carelessness, but from the fact of knowing that one is loved by the Lord,” Cardinal Parolin said. The other features of the Pontificate, he said, are mercy and evangelization.
The cardinal stressed the “outward looking” focus of today’s Church, noting this “can be the cause of different, conflicting and sometimes even opposing judgments”. This can lead to criticism.
“In a sense it is normal, I think, the fact that all the pontificates have been criticized,” Cardinal Parolin continued. “Then as regards the criticism I would distinguish between those that are destructive, aggressive, really bad criticisms – we use this word – and those that are constructive criticisms.”
Cardinal Parolin pointed out that the aggressive and destructive criticisms must be accepted “in Cruce”: “consider them as part of that crown of thorns that we all have to bear, especially those who have responsibilities in the Church and therefore also have a public role.”
As for constructive criticism: “I believe that it must be taken into account because it can help, be an aid to improvement, and even improve one’s service. I think that constructive criticism is that which arises from fundamentally an attitude of love and that aim of building communion in the Church.”