Pope Signals Openness to Gay Priests
Pope Francis during a meeting in Rome with President Cristina Fernandez of Argentina, March 18, 2013.
Credit: Presidency of the Republic of Argentina/Creative Commons

Gay priests shouldn't be judged for their orientation, Pope Francis said during an airplane journey from Brazil to the Vatican.

That comment indicated the new pope would be open to priests who are gay, but not sexually active. The statement marks a departure from the position of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who wrote in a 2005 document that men with a "deep-seated" homosexual orientation shouldn't be priests.

"If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" Pope Francis said in a news conference, AP reported. "You can't marginalize these people." Still, the remarks don't change the position of the Catholic Church, which holds that homosexual acts are gravely disordered.

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