The Daily Telegraph
France's First Lady said that the Church's teachings had left her feeling "profoundly secular".
She departed from her post's traditional religious neutrality to accuse the Pope of "damaging" countries in Africa with his stance on birth control.
The Italian-born former supermodel risked angering believers in France and beyond by declaring that the Pontiff's proclamations showed that the Church needed to "evolve".
In March, the Pope sparked controversy while on an Africa tour by saying that the AIDs pandemic which has crippled the continent "can't be resolved with the distribution of condoms; on the contrary, there is the risk of increasing the problem".
Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy said: "I was born Catholic, I was baptised, but in my life I feel profoundly secular.
"I find that the controversy coming from the Pope's message – albeit distorted by the media – is very damaging.
"In Africa it's often Church people who look after sick people. It's astonishing to see the difference between the theory and the reality.
"I think the Church should evolve on this issue. It presents the condom as a contraceptive which, incidentally, it forbids, although it is the only existing protection," she told Femme Actuelle, the women's magazine.
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