Susan Sarandon tells the New York Daily News she fears that Pope Francis may be killed for his progressive views

By Jodi Guglielmi
Updated September 21, 2015 01:05 PM
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Credit: George Pimentel/Wireimage; Giulio Origlia/Getty

Susan Sarandon fears for the Pope’s life.

The Oscar-winning actress, 68, told the New York Daily News that she’s afraid that Pope Francis will be murdered when he visits the U.S.

“I think they’re going to assassinate him,” she said of the Pope, who’s made headlines for his progressive views. “I think he’s done some major, major cleansing of the whole system.”

This isn’t the first time she has made controversial comments regarding the papacy.

In 2011, the Catholic University alum admitted that she once sent Pope John Paul II a copy of the book that inspired her 1995 film Dead Man Walking, for which she won an Oscar. She noted, however, that she didn’t send one to his successor Benedict XVI, whom she infamous dubbed a “Nazi” while speaking out at the 2011 Hamptons Film Festival.

But Sarandon explains that her comments regarding the current pontiff are out of concern, not dislike.

“I love this Pope,” she told the Daily News. “He’s humble … I think he’s a Pope of the people.”

Pope Francis is set to make his first trip to the United States starting on Tuesday, with stops in Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia. He spent this past weekend meeting with Cuban officials ahead of his historic trip.

In Havana, he made a visit to the private home of former Cuban president Fidel Castro after delivering Mass in the Plaza de la Revolucién. The two discussed “global issues” and exchanged books during the half-hour meeting.

“The pope’s visit to Commander Fidel Castro took place this morning after Mass. It was a small group at Castro’s residence,” spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi told PEOPLE, adding that the get-together was “very informal.”