Pope Francis Speaks Out Against Church's 'Small-Minded Rules'

The Catholic pontiff discusses his de-emphasis on hot-button social issues in a new interview.
3:13 | 09/20/13

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Transcript for Pope Francis Speaks Out Against Church's 'Small-Minded Rules'
Now, to the vatican and the surprising comments by pope francis, sending shock waves through the catholic church this morning. Signaling a real shift in tone, as he urges a more inclusive charge and home or all. Dan harris has the story for us. Reporter: Good morning. First of all, happy birthday. Second of all, who knew you drove a school bus? The leads here this morning. Let me get to the pope news. It's rare for a pope to grant an interview. And rarer still for a pope to grant one like this. Francis speaks openly, candidly and bluntly, signaling the church sheneeds to be less judgment, and more focused on forgiveness. Pope francis has tried to set a fresh tone. He lives in a simple room. He drives an old car. He takes selfies with tourists. He washes the feet of juvenile inmates. And he makes phone calls to people who write him letters, which has earned him general ribbing from the likes of jon stewart. If the pope calls the wrong number, does he admit it? Or does he say -- I'm sorry, holy father, you have the wrong number. No, I'm infallible. You're in the wrong house. Reporter: There's been more serious criticism, too. From hard-liners who do not like this pope's de-emphasis on hot-button social issues. In this new interview, released simultaneously in jesuit journals worldwide, francis seems utterly unswayed. Saying the church has become obsessed with small-minded rules. And it must be the home of all, not a small chapel, that the hold only a small group of selected people. He bluntly declares, we cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. What a change from his predecessor, who controversially proclaimed on a trip to africa, that condoms exacerbated the aids epidemic. The pope is not calling for a change in church teachings on these hot-button issues. But instead for a shift in emphasis and tone. Is this likely to trickle down to local parishes throughout america? I think it's trickled up to the papacy from the local parish because the pope is actually speaking to us in this interview in a way in which a good pastor or priest talks to his parishioners. Not in a top-down, overly intellectual way. But from his heart. Reporter: Such a fascinating interview. And one of the other striking things about this exchange is the pope's repeated admissions of personal frailty. He describes himself as undisciplined. And at times naive. He says when he was younger, he made decisions in an authoritarian way. And when asked who he is, he says I'm a sinner. Everything you do, he chose pope francis of assisi. Walking with the poor. Washing the feet of juvenile inmates. He's focuses on charity and humility. And he is changing the tone. Dan, thank you very much. Let's get a check of the weather. When you're over there by all

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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