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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. 'Speaking to reporters on Monday during a plane journey back to the Vatican following his trip to Brazil, the global Catholic leader said: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” However, he also referred to the Catholic Church’s universal Catechism, which states that while being gay is not sinful, homosexual acts are.' So we can be gay, as long as we don't act on it. Hardly a ringing endorsement. If thats not judgement, I don't know what is. Hypocrite.

    Posted by: Michael | Jul 29, 2013 5:47:32 PM

  2. "The Pope did still refer to homosexuality as a sin"

    This is the only headline that matters.
    The rest is just PR nonsense.

    Posted by: Randy | Jul 29, 2013 6:30:23 PM

  3. Steps forward. Small steps forward. This does mean something.

    Posted by: reality | Jul 29, 2013 6:38:33 PM

  4. @Randy the church says pre-marital sex and masturbation are also sins. Does that mean those who have had pre-marital sex are unwelcome in the church? No. The church knows most Catholic couples have sex outside of marriage and does not really care, they lost that fight a long time ago. He is paving the way for acceptance by saying being gay is not sinful

    Posted by: Mike C. | Jul 29, 2013 6:47:04 PM

  5. As a lifelong (but very critical of the Church) Catholic, I don't expect anyone, least of all other gays, to have much patience or tolerance for the internal hypocrisy and immorality of the official, organized Catholic Church. Talk about people living in glass houses not throwing stones.

    That said, in the context of the Church, this is a HUGE development. The Pope's official message would still be "love the sinner, condemn the sin." But as others have noted, he's a Jesuit and an intellectual, which means he's thinking probably 6 or 8 moves ahead. This contributes to and accelerates a dialog that will someday lead the Church to catch up on matters of sexual morality.

    And one thing its critics do not often enough acknowledge (because it is a powerful rhetorical tool to claim otherwise) but the Church is not and never has been monolithic. There is raging internal debate and disagreement within the Church at almost all times on almost every matter of relevance. Even the Pope has to navigate the Church's internal divisions in ways that achieve progress while maintaining some semblance of unity.

    Posted by: Cubs Fan in DC | Jul 29, 2013 6:53:25 PM

  6. "These people" stills insists we are others and not as good.

    Posted by: greenfuzz | Jul 29, 2013 7:18:00 PM

  7. He can go fck himself. Doesn't mean anything.

    Posted by: Bosie | Jul 29, 2013 8:13:49 PM

  8. This kind of stuff is a disaster. This means the Catholic Church will maintain it's relevance long after it should have imploded. Ugh.

    Posted by: Kári Emil | Jul 29, 2013 8:18:25 PM

  9. No, the church will not say endorse same-sex relationships anytime soon. Not unless they change their theology, which probably ain't happening under this Pope.

    This is a nice statement in the sense that it puts the extreme haters on the spot. And it is more inclusive in the sense that gay Catholics can/will hopefully feel a little less.....separated and conflicted between their faith and their orientation. With that said, it's also window dressing and little more than that. And it's not acceptance, and it's barely tolerance.

    We're still functionally disordered and the "do not judge them" is more or less looking at gay people as if we are sick and should be almost pitied.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Jul 29, 2013 8:34:49 PM

  10. Has anyone checked the altar wine?

    Just more desperation as the RC church slides into oblivion.

    Posted by: who cares? | Jul 29, 2013 8:43:31 PM

  11. Undoubtedly Francis is a kinder, gentler and more human man than the Popes who have gone before him. I think he is trying to back away from former popes positions about the unsuitability of Gay men for the priesthood. Francis has been a member of the Jesuits all his adult life. You can be sure he knows and has lived with, in community, many gay Jesuits. From my personal experiences as a former member of a Catholic Religious Order and as someone who has worked with many Secular priests in the field of education, I have no doubt that a large percentage, probably a majority of Catholic Priests are Gay. I know that and you can be sure Francis knows that.

    Posted by: andrew | Jul 29, 2013 9:32:02 PM

  12. I'm surprised that none of the other commenters have suggested the obvious possibility, that this Pope's tenure could be as short as John Paul I. This man was passed over in favor of Panzerpope because Francis was seen as too old, even then. He's going to be discovered dead one morning from "natural causes" not because he threw us a bone, but because he disrupted the "businessmen" who run the Vatican Bank.

    Posted by: BZ | Jul 29, 2013 11:31:12 PM

  13. Who cares what this dude says? He has about as much relevance as Pat Robertson. Or Paris Hilton for that matter. He's just a celebrity who wears a cross. You post a quote and everybody dissects it and tries to wring meaning out of it and looks into their crystal ball to predict what it will portend for the future. He means nothing to me. And most Catholics don't obey what the church teaches. He's like the teacher in Charlie Brown's classroom. Wa Waaa Wa Waa Waa......

    Posted by: StillmarriedinCA | Jul 30, 2013 12:04:51 AM

  14. Thank you, Pope Francis...from the bottom of my heart, thank you. You said the right thing, what I have been waiting to hear. Acceptance and validation for what is right, what is just. "Who am I to judge"...words for all of us to live by....

    Posted by: millerbeach | Jul 30, 2013 1:56:15 AM

  15. he also said
    IT IS A SIN to be active gay! So what´s changed? Just keep your mouth shut and play celibate?

    Posted by: L Goethe | Jul 30, 2013 4:47:14 AM

  16. You guys need to understand the wacky world that is the Roman Catholic Church.

    In their thinking they separate how you self-identify from the actions you take. So for him to say I do not judge gay people is completely consistent with Christianity. But he doesn't say he is OK with gay sex.

    Posted by: thepolarbeast | Jul 30, 2013 8:17:56 AM

  17. Nothing but a PR stunt to make critics of the RCC look like the bad guys. The US bishops lobbied Congress last week against ENDA. Also, last week the Bishop of Shrewsbury claimed to speak for all Christians that marriage is between one man and one woman. There has been no change in the behaviour of the church. They are just putting a fresh face on the same old hate.

    Personally, reading everything the pope had to say on the subject (which was only about priests), I believe we are seeing the beginning of the rehabilitation of Archbishop Keith O-Brien. His sins will be forgiven and forgotten in time for him to be the ex-gay poster boy for Catholic Church propaganda when marriages commence in the UK next year.

    Posted by: MikeBles | Jul 30, 2013 9:24:43 AM

  18. Has the pope cleared this with Timmy Dolan yet?

    Posted by: aregeejay | Jul 30, 2013 11:12:13 AM

  19. It was the Ney York Times that distorted the pope's remarks. The Jews once again, like so many times before try to infect the minds of the faithful with lies, and cause confusion and chaos through their inequity!

    Posted by: Dr Stephan | Sep 26, 2013 6:40:59 PM

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