Pope Francis delivers his speech during his weekly general audience at St Peter's square on Aug. 30 at the Vatican. (Photo by Andreas Solaro/AFP)
By virtue of its very definition, marriage can only be between a man and a woman, Pope Francis said in a new book-length interview.
"We cannot change it. This is the nature of things," not just in the church, but in human history, he said in a series of interviews with Dominique Wolton, a 70-year-old French sociologist and expert in media and political communication.
Published in French, the 417-page book, "Politique et Societe" ("Politics and Society") was to be released Sept. 6. Catholic News Service obtained an advance copy, and excerpts appeared online.
When it comes to the true nature of marriage as well as gender, there is "critical confusion at the moment," the pope said.
When asked about marriage for same-sex couples, the pope said, "Let's call this 'civil unions.' We do not joke around with truth."
Teaching children that they can choose their gender, he said, also plays a part in fostering such mistakes about the truth or facts of nature.
The pope said he wondered whether these new ideas about gender and marriage were somehow based on a fear of differences, and he encouraged researchers to study the subject.
Pope Francis also said his decision to give all priests permanent permission to grant absolution to those who confess to having procured an abortion was not meant to trivialize this serious and grave sin.
Abortion continues to be "murder of an innocent person. But if there is sin, forgiveness must be facilitated," he said. So often a woman who never forgets her aborted child "cries for years without having the courage to go see a priest."
Source: Catholic News Service