Pope Francis has reiterated the Church's position that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, and suggested that the union between people of the same sex be called "civil unions."
In a series of interviews with French sociologist Dominique Wolton, the Pope contended that the marriage has always been defined as the union between a man and a woman throughout human history.
"Marriage between people of the same sex? 'Marriage' is a historical word. Always in humanity, and not only within the Church, it's between a man and a woman... we cannot change that. This is the nature of things," Francis said, as reported by Crux.
The pope warned that there is "critical confusion" when it comes to the true nature of marriage and gender. He asserted that teaching children that they can choose their own gender also plays a part in fostering such mistakes about the truth or facts of nature.
"In books also, children are learning that they can choose their own sex. Why is sex, being a woman or a man, a choice and not a fact of nature? This favors this mistake. But let's say things as they are: Marriage is between a man and a woman. This is the precise term. Lets call unions between the same sex 'civil unions,'" he said.
Francis said that he wondered whether the new ideas about gender and marriage were somehow based on a fear of differences, and suggested that researchers start studying the subject.
The series of interviews will be published in French in the 417-page book "Politics and Society," which will be released on Sept. 6, according to Catholic Herald.
In the interview, the pope cautioned preachers against condemning only the forms of immorality that fall "below the belt." He lamented that other sins like hate envy, pride, vanity, murder and making illegal agreements "really not talked about that much."
Francis also reiterated his opposition to abortion and said that his decision to give all priests permanent permission to grant absolution to those who obtained an abortion was not intended at trivializing the issue.
On the topic of Islam, the pontiff suggested that it would be good for Muslims to have a critical study of the Quran, as Christians did with the Bible. He asserted that applying the historical and critical method of interpretation will help Muslims "evolve."
Francis also admitted in the interview that he had weekly sessions with a psychoanalyst for six months during his time in Argentina. He revealed that he consulted with a female psychoanalyst between 1978 and 1979, when he was transitioning from being a provincial superior of the Society of Jesus in Argentina to becoming the rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel.