Pope Francis says the Catholic Church should lessen its focus on issues such as gay marriage, abortion and contraception and should instead focus on being a more welcoming and understanding Church for all.
In an interview published Thursday in the Civilta Cattolica magazine, the pope warned that unless the Church finds a new balance on its divisive rules and demonstrates mercy, its moral structure could "fall like a house of cards."
He said the Roman Catholic Church should see itself as a field hospital after battle and work on healing the larger wounds of society instead of focusing on "small minded rules."
The pope says the Church should be able to step outside of itself and find those who do not attend Mass, have quit or are indifferent.
Pope Francis also hinted at the possibility of giving women a greater role, saying the "feminine genius" is needed whenever important decisions are made in the Church.