By virtue of its definition, marriage can only be between a man and a woman, Pope Francis has said in a new book-length interview.

“We cannot change it. This is the nature of things,” he said in a series of interviews with Dominique Wolton, a French sociologist and director of research at CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research).

Published in French, the 417-page book, Politique et Société (“Politics and Society”) will be released on September 6. Excerpts have appeared online by agreement.

When it comes to the true nature of marriage as well as gender, there is “critical confusion at the moment”, the Pope said.

When asked about marriage for same-sex couples, the Pope said: “Let’s call this ‘civil unions’. We do not joke around with truth.”

Teaching children that they can choose their gender, he said, also plays a part in fostering such mistakes about the truth or facts of nature.

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