Six months into his papacy, Pope Francis has unleashed his strongest words yet on the state of the church and the direction he wants to take it. NY1's Jon Weinstein has reaction outside St. Patrick's Cathedral and from the leader of New York's Archdiocese.
If it wasn't clear before, it certainly is now: Pope Francis is ready to speak his mind.
In a wide-ranging interview published in Jesuit magazines around the world, Francis said the church has become "obsessed" with gay marriage, abortion and contraception.
"The teaching of the church…is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time…" the pope said in the interview.
Those words were met with some positive reaction outside St. Patrick's Cathedral Thursday.
"I think we finally have a pope now that is now coming up with the times and without generation," said one person.
The pope said, "The people of God want pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials."
Francis' comments appear to be at odds with what American bishops have been focusing on for years. Many, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the leader of U.S. bishops, have taken the lead against gay marriage and abortion.
Dolan was out of town, but in response to the pope's comments, he said, "As a priest and bishop, I particularly welcome his reminder that the clergy are primarily to serve as shepherds, to be with our people, to walk with them, to be pastors, not bureaucrats!"
Some people think that the church, and the pope, in particular, still need to be outspoken on these issues.
"He's the head of the church, he's the head of the faith, and if he is a representative of the law of God, hey, you can't shirk away from that," said one person.
While the comments seem like a sharp break from the past, some people think there's just not much left to be said on things like abortion.
"The church is for pro-life, so therefore, what else is him to say?" said one person. "He doesn't have to say anymore.
The pope compared the church to a field hospital after battle, saying that the church needs to heal people's serious wounds rather than worry about their cholesterol or their blood sugar. After that, he said, we can talk about everything else.