Pope Francis created a stir on Monday when, in an impromptu press conference aboard a return flight from World Youth Day in Brazil, he said he would not judge gay priests.
"If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" he told reporters on the way back to the Vatican from Brazil, where he celebrated World Youth Day and urged young people to create a better world by constructing a “civilization of love.”
Francis — offering a shift in tone if not church policy toward homosexuality — was responding to a reporter who asked about an Italian magazine claim that Vatican monsignor Battista Ricca had homosexual relations while in Latin America years ago. He said a preliminary Vatican investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing by Ricca.
The Catechism says gay people should not be ostracized, he continued, but integrated into society — adding that the Catholic Church believes homosexual acts are sinful, but homosexual orientation is not, and gay priests should be forgiven and their sins forgotten.
His comments, however, are not exactly in harmony with the typical stance of the Catholic Church.