In new book, pope upholds traditional marriage, need to help sinners

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — By virtue of its very definition, marriage
can only be between a man and a woman, Pope Francis said in a new book-length

“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

Teaching children that they can choose their gender, he
said, also plays a part in fostering such mistakes about the truth or facts of

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 mean 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.”

“Do you have any idea the number of people who can
finally breathe?” he asked, adding how important it was these women can find
the Lord’s forgiveness and never commit this sin again.

Pope Francis said the biggest threat in the world is
money. In St. Matthew’s Gospel, when Jesus talked about people’s love and loyalty
being torn between two things, he didn’t say it was between “your wife or
God,” it was choosing between God or money.

“It’s clear. They are two things opposed to each
other,” he said.

When asked why people do not listen to this message even
though it has been clearly condemned by the church since the time of the
Gospels, the pope said it is because some people prefer to speak only about

“There is a great danger for preachers, lecturers, to
fall into mediocrity,” which is condemning only those forms of immorality
that fall “below the belt,” he said.

“But the other sins that are the most serious:
hatred, envy, pride, vanity, killing another, taking away a life … these are
really not talked about that much,” he said.

When asked about the church’s “just-war”
theory, the pope said the issue should be looked into because “no war is
just. The only just thing is peace.”


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