Pope's comments on gay priests different than predecessor's - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Pope's comments on gay priests different than predecessor's

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Since becoming Pope in March, Francis has been a "different sort of pope." He is much more open, more available, more spontaneous than his predecessor. The pontiff's 80 minute extemporaneous news conference aboard the papal plane this morning was unprecedented. The news that came out of it shows this papacy will continue to break ground within the Catholic church.

Pope Francis told reporters he will not judge priests for their sexual orientation. He said, "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"

His predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, signed a document in 2005 that said men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be priests. Francis says gay clergymen should be forgiven and their sins forgotten.

The pope also spoke openly about allegations of a "gay lobby" at the Vatican. Francis said he had investigated and found the allegations groundless. He did admit that such a lobby would be an issue.

The news conference came as the pope returns home from his first overseas tour. He spent several days in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for World Youth Day.






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