Good sex and food are "divine" pleasures that come "directly from God", Pope Francis has said.
In a newly-published book of interviews, the Pope told Italian writer Carlo Petrini the church has "always accepted human, simple, moral pleasure".
Pope Francis, born Jorge Bergoglio in Argentina, said: "Pleasure arrives directly from God, it is neither Catholic, nor Christian, nor anything else, it is simply divine."
He says here is no place for "overzealous morality" which denies pleasure, something he admits the Catholic Church had in the past.
But he insists this was "a wrong interpretation of the Christian message", according to RTÉ.
"The Church has condemned inhuman, brutish, vulgar pleasure, but has on the other hand always accepted human, simple, moral pleasure," he said.
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"The pleasure of eating is there to keep you healthy by eating, just like sexual pleasure is there to make love more beautiful and guarantee the perpetuation of the species."
He added: "The pleasure of eating and sexual pleasure come from God."
Pope Francis added that opposing views "have caused enormous harm, which can still be felt strongly today".
Carlo Petrini, who wrote the book, is the founder of the global "slow food" movement created in the 1980s in opposition to fast food and which promotes local food and traditional cooking.
The interviews focus on the pope's vision of environmentalism with a social face, outlined in his 2015 encyclical "Laudato Si", which translates to "Praise Be to You!".
In the encyclical, the pope critiques consumerism and irresponsible development, laments environmental degradation and global warming, and calls all people of the world to take "swift and unified global action".
"TerraFutura, conversations with Pope Francis on integral ecology", written by Carlo Petrini, was published on September 9.
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