Pope Francis addressed marriage and abortion in a book released on Wednesday, which was composed from a series of interviews conducted by French sociologist Dominique Wolton.
The Catholic News Service reported select excerpts from the book, including, but not limited to, the topics of marriage and abortion.
Titled "Politique et Societe" ("Politics and Society"), the book was published in French and is 417 pages. The book is scheduled to be released this week.
Pope Francis' comments on marriage
The pope told Wolton that the world is in a "critical confusion" over the definition of marriage in modern society.
"We cannot change it. This is the nature of things, not just in the Church but in human history," Francis said about the traditional, biblical definition of marriage.
He said that the concept of same-sex marriage should be referred to as "civil unions."
"Let's call this 'civil unions,'" he told Wolton. "We do not joke around with truth."
With regard to "confusion" surrounding marriage, as well as its definition, the pope mused as to whether or not the root of this confusion was fear of differences among humankind.
Pope Francis, 80, minced no words when it came to abortion, but did offer a gentle sentiment to women who have opted to abort their unborn children.
"[Abortion is the] murder of an innocent person," Francis said. "But if there is sin, forgiveness must be facilitated."
He added that many women are emotionally and spiritually scarred before finding God's forgiveness for her sin.
"Think of a woman who has physical memory of her child, which oftentimes happens, and who cries, who cries for years without the courage to go to see a priest," the pope explained.
"Do you realize how many people can finally breathe?" he asked, reminding people that forgiveness is there for those who seek it.
Francis said that while women who abort their children need to seek and accept the Lord's forgiveness, it is imperative that they never commit the sin again.