TODAY   |  September 20, 2013

Pope: Church could fall over social issues

In a blunt interview with the Jesuit magazine “America,” Pope Francis said that the church can’t be obsessed with the issues that divide it, such as abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraception or else the church could fall “like a house of cards.” NBC’s Anne Thompson reports.

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>> are we on the verge of another government shut down? that will be the topic this sunday on meet the press.

>> pope francis is speaking out for his new vision for the catholic church in what might be the most revealing interview since his election in march he shared his thoughts on the need for reform. here's ann thompson.

>> reporter: in a blunt interview in the magazine "america" pope francis says the church cannot be obsessed with the issues that divide it. we cannot insist on issues related only to abortion, gay marriage , and the use of contraceptive methods. this is not possible. we have to find a new balance, otherwise, even the morale edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards . until now he followed the advice attributed by his name sake. preach often. when necessary, use words. pope francis is accessible. always stopping to bless the sick or kiss a child and he is humbling. excepting a used car to drive in vatican city . he likes to be close to the people and he wants his priests to do the same. urging them to act like pastors, not bureaucrats. he sees today's church as a hospital that needs to heal wounds. the church sometimes has locked itself up in small things in small minded rules. he wants the catholic church to be the home of all. not a small chapel that can only hold a small group of selected people. for today, ann