Reuters is reporting that the pope made the comments during an interview with Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper which was published on Wednesday. His comments came after being asked how he felt about his superstar status and the accompanying expectations that he might soften the Church's stance on issues such as contraception, cohabitation, divorce and same-sex marriage.
The pope called this representation of himself "mythology".
"To depict the pope as a sort of superman, a sort of star, seems offensive to me," Francis said. "The pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps tranquilly and has friends like everyone else, a normal person."
He went on to say that he has no intention of changing the Church's position on moral teachings pertaining to sexual morality. Contrary to popular opinion, this will not be the aim of the synod of bishops who will meet in October to discuss family issues.
Calling Pope Paul VI's 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae (On Human Life) "prophetic and courageous", he said the synod will focus on ways of applying and explaining these teachings better.
"It's not a question of changing the doctrine but going deeper so that pastoral concern takes into account situations and what can be done for people," he said.
"His words in the interview appeared to be a warning to liberals not to expect too much," Reuters reported.
Francis was also asked about the sexual abuse scandal and was quick to defend the Church.
"The Catholic Church is perhaps the only public institution that has moved with transparency and responsibility. No-one has done more, and yet the Church is the only one that is being attacked," he said.
Just last month a United Nations committee accused the Vatican of ignoring decades of sexual abuse of children by priests and demanded that it turn over offenders to civil justice and change its teachings in regards to sexual morality to reflect a more lenient stance.
A less significant question concerned whether or not it was true that he occasionally slips out of his residence "incognito" to feed the homeless, an activity which he denied, saying that it "never entered my mind."
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