Pope Francis has stunned LGBT people around the world by telling reporters he was not in a position to judge gay people today (29 July).
The leader of the Catholic Church has said he will not judge priests for their sexual orientation, making a stark contrast to his predecessors.
In an open and wide-ranging news conference as returns from his first foreign trip to Brazil, he said: ‘If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?’
Francis also referred to teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, saying while homosexual acts are sinful, being gay is not.
‘The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says they should not be marginalized because of this, but that they must be integrated into society,’ he said, speaking in Italian.
‘The problem is not having this orientation. We must be brothers. The problem is lobbying by this orientation, or lobbies of greedy people, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the worse problem.’
He joked: ‘You see a lot written about the gay lobby. I still have not seen anyone in the Vatican with an identity card saying they are gay.’
Benedict XVI has said men with ‘deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be priests’. He also described homosexuality as a ‘defection of human nature’.