COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Pope Francis, in an outreach to gays, says he won't judge priests for their sexual orientation.
He told reporters aboard his plane flying back from Brazil that "we shouldn't marginalize people for this." He said, "They must be integrated into society."
His predecessor, Pope Benedict, signed a document in 2005 that said men who had deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be priests. Francis, though, says gay clergymen should be forgiven and their sins forgotten.
He said, "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"
Bishop of Colorado Springs, Rev. Michael Sheridan, says the comment from Pope Francis isn't a surprise. Bishop Sheridan says it is consistent with what the church teaches.
"Many people who think of a homosexual person automatically connect them to homosexual activity. So it may appear that the Pope is someway blessing or condoning homosexual activity, but he's not. He is just talking about inclinations that have no particular moral value," said Bishop Sheridan.