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Pope Francis Delivers Message Of LGBT Tolerance, Asks 'Who Am I To Judge?'

Pope Francis was in Rio de Janeiro for the week to celebrate World Youth Day, and on Sunday morning he attracted a huge crowd of three million for Mass. While this Pope is certainly popular in Brazil, he may gain some (hesitant) popularity with the LGBT community now as well.

Huffington Post reports:

While taking questions from reporters on the plane back to Rome, Francis spoke about gays and the reported "gay lobby." According to the Wall Street Journal, the Pope's comments about homosexuality came in the context of a question about gay priests.

Pope francisThe pontiff broached the delicate question of how he would respond to learning that a cleric in his ranks was gay, though not sexually active. For decades, the Vatican has regarded homosexuality as a "disorder," and Pope Francis' predecessor Pope Benedict XVI formally barred men with what the Vatican deemed "deep-seated" homosexuality from entering the priesthood.

"Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?" the pontiff said, speaking in Italian. "You can't marginalize these people."

Father James Martin, S.J. who is an admirer of Francis, said that the pontiff's comment about gay people is consistent with the rest of his papacy.

"One of Francis's hallmarks is an emphasis on mercy, which you see in that response. That mercy, of course, comes from Jesus. And we can never have too much of it."

During the interview, the Pope also reported that several allegations of gay trysts with high ranking Vatican officials had been investigated and had no truth to them. He reportedly delivered this news, and his other comments, light-heartedly; according to the AP, "He was funny and candid during a news conference that lasted almost an hour and a half. He didn't dodge a single question..."

The Pope did still refer to homosexuality as a sin, but his reported good will came through.

...when someone sins and confesses, he said, God not only forgives but forgets.

"We don't have the right to not forget," he said.

Could the Catholic Church be taking a progressive turn? Was the Pope simply having a good day? His comments are at least a small step in a positive direction.

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  1. I'm totally GOBSMACKED!

    Posted by: Sam | Jul 29, 2013 2:47:50 PM

  2. How did this guy sneak through? This is not a 'small step', it's completely unprecedented. As Andy said the other month when the pope began discussing the sacrament of marriage without reinforcing that marriage be heterosexual, he is treading carefully but making huge waves. Members of the Curia are sweating balls and he better have people he can trust in there

    Posted by: Mike C. | Jul 29, 2013 2:57:25 PM

  3. The Vatican's homosexual lobby is behind this, LOL!

    Posted by: Jack M | Jul 29, 2013 3:00:32 PM

  4. Well, the question involved a gay cleric that's sexually inactive, so I think his tolerance only goes so far. Would it be a good compromise for us to accept homossexuality as a sin as long as catholics forgive and forget (as in "Let us have out rights and don't stand in our way")?

    In any case, Brazil's unashamedly catholic-biased media is loving all this.

    Posted by: Luiz | Jul 29, 2013 3:03:43 PM

  5. I'm not sure that being slightly less forthrightly hateful in public qualifies as tolerance.

    Let him repudiate the Church's stance that gay men are "fundamentally disordered", and then we'll have something to discuss.

    Posted by: Vint | Jul 29, 2013 3:04:37 PM

  6. Is it really that surprising? Pope Francis is a Jesuit, which is one of the most liberal orders of the Catholic Church.

    I think you'll find that over time, Francis is going to be the church's most LGBT-friendly pope, relatively speaking. He has to be, in order to be an effective pope of the 21st century.

    That doesn't mean that he'll be officiating gay marriages at St. Peters Basilica anytime soon, like some of you people here seem to want. He and the Church are going to move towards LGBT inclusion at their own pace with the grace of God by their side.

    Posted by: bernard | Jul 29, 2013 3:15:12 PM

  7. Not buying it. It smacks of CYA for the pedophile and gay priests who act on their urges.

    Posted by: Throwslikeagirl | Jul 29, 2013 3:16:53 PM

  8. I see this as an important step, hopefully into the right direction.

    Posted by: Felix | Jul 29, 2013 3:17:08 PM

  9. The guy's a Jesuit - the first - so he has a good head on his shoulders. He's also Latin, therefore an outsider to the Curia, who really call the shots. If "tone" is everything, then the possibility for change exists in a way it didn't under Ratzinger, that Nazi closet case thug. (I think, too, that Francis is straight, needing to use less energy to obfuscate and double-down on any gay visibility. Our worst enemies are those who are harboring their own dirty little secrets.) I agree with VINT: a chat on a plane is one thing. An encyclical or public speech renouncing "intrinsic moral disorder" would be real cause for hope.

    Posted by: Wavin' Dave | Jul 29, 2013 3:17:57 PM

  10. Tolerance? LOL.

    Posted by: MARCUS BACHMANN | Jul 29, 2013 3:36:55 PM

  11. Not buying it either. So... on the same day the Pope tells us he's not judging people and Pat Robertson says being transexual isn't a sin.

    WTF is up? I smell a HUGE decaying rat. There's just no way both men do a complete 180 on the same day.

    Posted by: Michael | Jul 29, 2013 3:52:05 PM

  12. from article, please read, it's too much:

    "Vatican Quickly Performs Damage Control On Pope’s Tolerant Remarks -

    Following Pope Francis’ tolerant remarks Sunday about homosexuals and the Catholic Church, Vatican officials reportedly went into crisis mode, announcing that the Pope’s thoughtful message of understanding was clearly taken out of context. “It is not the official stance of the Pope or the Catholic Church that all people of good will who seek the Lord, especially gay people, should be accepted by Christ”

    Posted by: northalabama | Jul 29, 2013 3:54:50 PM

  13. In Other News: The Catholic League reported today that their leader Bill Donahue's head turned purple and exploded shortly after reading the Pope's remarks about gays.

    Posted by: Ryan | Jul 29, 2013 4:01:57 PM

  14. The Important Piece being overlooked is that the Church STILL considers gay people to be "disordered", and gay sex a sin.

    If you're gay and "celibate" (*cough), then come on in and drop a coin in the basket

    Posted by: jtramon | Jul 29, 2013 4:10:24 PM

  15. This is akin to saying "I'm not going to spit on you anymore." It may be a big step for the church but for the GLBT community, it has little meaning.

    Remember this is the CEO of a business that has spent millions educating a flock to oppose marriage equality and spent considerable resources doing so.

    When will he support marriage equality and decry conversion therapies? That will be a day to rejoice the catholics' new stance, not today.

    Posted by: Mitch | Jul 29, 2013 4:13:02 PM

  16. Maybe someday we'll even get an Orthodox Jew rabbi or Muslim imam to admit that they have absolutely no right to judge people who are gay. Wouldn't that be great?

    Posted by: Ryan | Jul 29, 2013 4:20:23 PM

  17. Being a non-theist it's really 'neither here nor there' to me. That he eschews the bling and excess of modern pope-itude may be significant to some. The 'who am I to judge' - indeed. Well said. 'Good without God' has still proven itself (for me)time and time again. Nearly 60. No epiphanies to the contrary.

    Posted by: Geoff | Jul 29, 2013 4:27:37 PM

  18. He said this right after his elevation and the curia issued a "clarification". My guess is that he personally doesn't care about gay issues, but the conservative wing of the church is not going to let him speak his mind. He might be the first "nice" pope in fifty years.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 29, 2013 4:38:33 PM

  19. This IS progress in the Roman Church because Francis accepts homosexuals as equals of heterosexuals. Although he denies homosexuals the right to have sex for any other purpose than procreation, these are the same rules for heterosexuals as well.

    It's just too sad the Roman Church is so afraid of the natural, God-given joy of sex.

    Posted by: trees | Jul 29, 2013 4:39:55 PM

  20. My read of the article looks like he talks ONLY about gay priests and no one else: gay athiests, gay muslims, gay jews, gay protestants, or just gay non-religionists. Let's not forget these former quote from Frank:

    He still "judges"

    Posted by: woodroad34d | Jul 29, 2013 4:53:39 PM

  21. As far as the sexual celibacy part is concerned I think we should forget that detial for now and work on getting the Church back on track, which seems to me it is finally taking the necessary steps forward.

    For the Vatican meatheads that are exploding over this, well TOUGH COOKIES. It was you pedophile, corrupted selves that necessitated this sea change. Out with child abuse and in with human love and compassion.

    Posted by: Jose Soto | Jul 29, 2013 5:20:02 PM

  22. The thing to keep in mind is that though this is a pretty minor statement really, in keeping with past comments by other Popes, it's still WAY better than anything Pope Ratfvcker had to say about us!

    When France was having their gay marriage freak out what did Francis have to say about it? Zip. Nada. Zero.

    Really the best we can expect from a Pope is to stay the hell out of it and he's pretty much done that so far. If you're waiting for a message of acceptance from the Catholic church........ well, don't hold your breath.

    But just as Benny the Rat's hatefulness toward gays empowered US Cardinals and Bishops to issue their own p!ssy screeds, maybe Francis's focus on charity and forgiveness will inspire them to keep their traps SHUT for a change!

    Posted by: Caliban | Jul 29, 2013 5:24:26 PM

  23. And lastly, I think this step, though "small" to some is very huge. Many Christians are going to have their values checked after this AND Bill Donahue's head will expand until it blows up from all that hot steam.

    In a few years time, the Church will no doubt declare that gay "relationship" are not sinful because being gay by itself is not sinful either. They must either do this or their youth evangelism efforts will wither on the vine.

    Posted by: Jose Soto | Jul 29, 2013 5:25:49 PM

  24. I think the comedian Bob Smith captured it well years ago... "The Catholic Church says they have no problem with homosexuals, as long as they don't practice homosexuality. Well, I have no problem with Catholics. As long as they don't practice Catholicism!"

    Fast forward to 2013 - the words of the Pope. "Being gay is not a sin, but practicing homosexuality is."

    'Nuff said.

    Posted by: KC | Jul 29, 2013 5:41:46 PM

  25. Pope chats as the good guy to obfuscate global medias while locally most catholic bishops and cardinals stir hatred every day as in France a couple months ago when some were protesting in the streets along extreme-right activists against a new law voted by the Parliament....

    Posted by: Mark Twain | Jul 29, 2013 5:44:09 PM

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