Pope Francis told reporters July 29 that it is not his place to judge gay people, The New York Times reports. The pope was taking questions about the Vatican “gay lobby” on a flight from Brazil back to Rome when he switched the topic to gay people in general.
"When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn't be marginalized. The tendency is not the problem . . . they're our brothers," he said.
These comments contrast with a 2005 Vatican directive under Pope Benedict barring men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” from the priesthood.
Pope Francis has recently had to contend with reports of a “gay lobby” in the Vatican and rumours that his appointee to head the Vatican bank lived openly with his gay lover in Uruguay.