Pope Francis is making waves for his comment that he would not condemn or judge priests who identify as gay.
“If someone is gay and searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Pope Francis told reporters while flying back to Rome from World Youth Day events in Brazil, according to The Associated Press
. “We shouldn’t marginalize people for this. They must be integrated into society.”
In contrast, Francis’ predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, said that men with homosexual tendencies should not be in the clergy.
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Francis’ statement does not change official church policy but was shocking to many.
“So if the pope says ‘who am I to judge homosexuals,’ who is left? I dig this pope,” @SleepInTheGardn posted on Twitter.
“What has the world come to? The pope allows gay priests. Before you know it people will be telling their confessions to a twerking priest,” tweeted @Edgar_Moreno_23.
“There’s no such thing as a gay priest. There’s no such thing as a straight priest. They’re priests,” tweeted @tommydolz.
The Pope, who has nearly 2.8 million followers on Twitter, wrote: “We need to model our lives on the life of Jesus, so as to share his sentiments and thoughts” via the handle @Pontifex.
The New York Times reported the Pope did not dodge any questions during the 80-minute interview on the flight
, and he even thanked one person for asking about a gay lobby in the Vatican and about news reports that an adviser of his who was asked to look into the Vatican Bank had been accused of having gay sexual relations.
The Pope replied that he had looked into the matter and that the accusations were unfounded.
The Vatican Insider, meanwhile, reported that the Pope was queried
about why he asks people to pray for him.
“I have always asked people to pray for me,” he said. “When I was a priest I didn’t ask this often. I started asking it more often when I became a bishop. I feel I have many weaknesses and problems, I am a sinner, too. This request is something that comes from within. I also ask Mary to pray for me. It’s a habit that comes from the heart. It’s something I feel I have to ask.”
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