Pope Francis called for “an ambitious project” and sweeping changes for the Catholic Church in his pronouncement Tuesday.
In the document, dubbed “Evangelii Gaudium” (the Joy of the Gospel), Francis said the church needs to reconsider some of its rules and customs.
"I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security," the Pope said in the statement.
"I do not want a Church concerned with being at the center and then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures," Francis added.
Unlike Benedict XVI, who held to tradition, Francis has encouraged Catholics to focus on spreading the Gospel more than fighting battles on cultural issues.
"More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving,” he said.
In another section of the pronouncement, Francis criticized the “dictatorship” of a global economic system and the free market.
"Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills," Francis wrote in the document.
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.