A senior Vatican official has said that while Pope Francis is generally serene in the face of criticism, some attacks have caused him suffering.

Archbishop Angelo Becciu, substitute for general affairs at the Secretariat of State and the papal delegate to the Order of Malta, told reporters that the Pope was “calm” but that “he is a human being, so he also suffers”.

Some criticism, he said, reached “the core of one’s being – like him betraying Church doctrine”.

He said the charge was “not true”, adding: “He does not accept this and it is the most serious accusation that one can receive.”

The archbishop’s remarks are the first indication that Pope Francis has been upset by criticism.

Francis has often said he “felt a great peace” the moment he realised he would be elected Pope, and that “That peace has not left me.”

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