Pope Francis calls for a focus on mercy, saying not all the church's dogmatic and moral teachings are equal.
"The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules," the pope 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."
Bishops in the U.S. have put the church's stance against abortion at the top of their agenda, notes the Boston Globe. One Providence bishop has gone so far as to criticize Pope Francis for not speaking out more against the practice.
"We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards," Pope Francis said in the interview, "losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel. The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant."