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Pope Calls For Less Focus on Gays, Abortion and Contraception

Pope Francis
Pope Francis during a meeting in Rome with President Cristina Fernandez of Argentina, March 18, 2013. (Image credit: Presidency of the Republic of Argentina/Creative Commons)

The Catholic Church should focus less on narrow and controversial social issues, such as gay rights, contraception and abortion, the Pope said in a candid interview with a Jesuit magazine released today (Sept. 19).

"We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods," Pope Francis told America Magazine. The Pope is not changing the church's official stance on these issues — it still opposes abortion, gay marriage and contraceptive use — but arguing that a narrow emphasis on certain dogma comes at the expense of the church's central message.

"The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules," he said. "The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all."

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Tia Ghose

Tia is the assistant managing editor and was previously a senior writer for Live Science. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, and other outlets. She holds a master's in bioengineering from the University of Washington, a graduate certificate in science writing from UC Santa Cruz and a bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Tia was part of a team at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that published the Empty Cradles series on preterm births, which won multiple awards, including the 2012 Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.