PALM DESERT, Calif. -

In an interview Thursday, Pope Francis said the church needs to be more open, and not be obsessed with homosexuality, contraception, and abortion.

"He wasn't suggesting at all the church abandon our social and moral teachings, but rather reaffirming the teachings of the church go back to the beginning of Christianity which is 'Love thy neighbor,'" Father Howard Lincoln of Sacred Heart Church said. 

It's a view sparking a lot of controversy.

"There's always going to be those kinds of people. There are people who reacted to the Vatican II, when they changed the format and the wording, too. Change is difficult for a lot of people," Rich Reed said.  

"I think Pope Francis is going to really try and touch people who feel outside the church, including homosexuals," Madalene Balloy said. 

Catholics we talked to at Sacred Heart Church seemed to appreciate and understand the Pope's views. 

"I think he is trying to get in touch with the people," Balloy said. 

"A Pope who I firmly believe is in touch with the world and secular society and the need for the church to talk about a variety of issues," Father Lincoln said. 

It's a welcome positive energy for Father Lincoln.  

"Really good articles about the Catholic church which is really a nice change frankly after these years. It's great stuff and I'm glad he is doing it," he said. 

The Pope is not suggesting any major changes in the church's teachings. He says the church should welcome, not exclude.