VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Following are excerpts from Pope Francis's interview with Jesuit publications on Thursday, as translated by the U.S. Jesuit magazine America:
- On himself: "I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner."
- On what the Church needs: "I see the church as a field hospital after battle... The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules."
- On priests: "The ministers of the Gospel must be people who can warm the hearts of the people, who walk through the dark night with them...but without getting lost. The people of God want pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials."
- On homosexuals: "It is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person... It is necessary to accompany them with mercy."
- On confession: "The confessional is not a torture chamber, but the place in which the Lord's mercy motivates us to do better."
- On sexual morality: "We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods...I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that."
"We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel."
- On women: "I am wary of a solution that can be reduced to a kind of 'female machismo,' because a woman has a different make-up than a man... Women are asking deep questions that must be addressed... The feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions."
- On traditionalist Catholics: "Those who today always look for disciplinarian solutions, those who long for an exaggerated doctrinal 'security,' those who stubbornly try to recover a past that no longer exists-they have a static and inward-directed view of things. In this way, faith becomes an ideology among other ideologies."
(Reporting By Tom Heneghan; editing by Ralph Boulton)