Pope Francis stirring up controversy over unscripted remarks on marriage

VATICAN CITY (WTXF) - "Ridiculous" and "irresponsible", those are just some of the words being lobbed at Pope Francis after he said the majority of catholic marriages today are invalid, because they don't realize-- it is a lifetime commitment.

FOX News Chief religion correspondent Lauren Green reports on the fallout from the Pope's remarks.

Pope Francis is once again stirring up controversy over his unscripted remarks, this time on marriage.

In a Q & A session Thursday with a group of catholic clergy, Francis responded to a comment about a crisis of marriage in the church.

He answered:

"We are living in a provisional culture, and because of this, a great majority of our sacramental marriages are null because they (the couple) say 'yes, for the rest of my life' but they don't know what they are saying because they have a different culture."

His words unleashed a torrent of criticism from conservative Catholics.

New York Times Columnist Ross Douthat blasted in a tweet, "an extraordinary, irresponsible and ridiculous claim."

Father Gerald Murray, head of the UN's parish, Church of The Holy Family in New York City, wrote, "this offhand remark will produce uncertainty among many people."

Mathew Schmitz, the editor of First Things Magazine, called the pope's words the wrong message at the wrong time.

"By saying that the vast majority of marriages are null, Pope Francis instead gave Catholics, who are struggling in their marriages, a message of despair." Schmitz said.

Pope Francis' comments come about two months after the release of his controversial and lengthy letter on the family called in English, The joy of love.

In it, he affirmed church teachings on marriage and children, while acknowledging non-traditional family situations, and took some heat for among other things chiding the church to be more welcoming to those who are divorced or living together outside of marriage and for streamlining the annulment process.

Adding to today's controversy, reports that the Vatican altered the transcript of the exchange replacing the words 'great majority' with, 'some ,' to apparently soften the pope's meaning.

The Vatican has not responded to those claims.