Pope Francis says the Roman Catholic Church has grown “obsessed” with preaching about abortion, same-sex marriage and contraception – and that he is choosing to avoid discussing those subjects.

“It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” the Pope told La Civiltà Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit journal whose content is routinely approved by the Vatican.

He said: “The dogmatic and moral teachings of the Church are not all equivalent. The Church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently,” the global Catholic leader continued: “We have to find a new balance,” adding, “otherwise even the moral edifice of the Church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”

Speaking to reporters in July during a plane journey back to the Vatican following his trip to Brazil, Pope Francis said that gay people should not be judged or marginalised and should be integrated into society.

It was a departure from a more strident tone – if not in doctrinal position – as he also referred to the Catholic Church’s universal Catechism, which states that while being gay is not sinful, homosexual acts are.

“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality,” Pope Francis told La Civiltà Cattolica – after being asked about July’s comments. “I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person.”

Three years ago as cardinal he warned that efforts to legalise equal marriage in Argentina would “confuse and deceive the children of God.”

In June, Pope Francis warned the French against following “fashionable ideas” in relation to the country’s equal marriage law.