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Cupich: Pope Critics Behind 'Unfounded Stories' About The Pontiff

(CBS) -- Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich says attempts to undermine Pope Francis' efforts to make the church more receptive to those who've been left out are backfiring.

The archbishop spoke via Skype from the Vatican with CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levin.

He says there are forces both inside and outside the church that aren't happy with the direction Pope Francis is taking. Archbishop Cupich says their fingerprints are all over a number of recent headlines, including a report, denied by the Vatican, that the pontiff has a brain tumor.

"These unfounded stories about the pope's health could be motivated by some malicious intent of people," Cupich says. "I think there are people, there are forces out there who don't like the fact that Pope Francis is calling the church to be a different presence in the world when it comes to the economy or the ecology and other things."

Cupich is spending three weeks in Rome for the Synod on the Family, called by Pope Francis to discuss modifying some church positions or requirements to make it more inclusive.

"It's not just about people who might feel alienated from the church because either they're gay and lesbian or they're divorce and remarried. But there are people also who  are ignored by society that the church needs to reach out to as well," the archbishop says.

The Pope's landmark, "who am I to judge?" response to a question about gay Catholics made headlines, but he's also opened the door for divorced Catholics to receive communion without getting formal church annulments.

Cupich, who's been especially active in discussions of the English language working group, cautioned against expecting too much from the synod.

"People cannot pick and choose what they believe or not believe," he says.

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