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Boston Catholics Expecting Sea Change for Gays In Catholic Church

Pope Francis said he would not judge priests for their sexual orientation in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference Monday as he returned from his first foreign trip. (AP/Luca Zennaro)

Pope Francis said he would not judge priests for their sexual orientation in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference Monday as he returned from his first foreign trip. (AP/Luca Zennaro)

In the four months since he was installed as the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis has surprised a lot of people with some of his statements and advocacy. He has spoken out on behalf of the poor and made dramatic overtures toward the Muslim world. Monday, on his way back to Rome from Brazil, he was asked about gay priests.

“Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?” he asked.

For a very long time the Church has regarded homosexuality as taboo. As Cardinal, Pope Benedict XVI called homosexuality “an intrinsic moral evil.” In 2005, Pope Benedict XVI issued an instruction essentially banning gay men from entering the priesthood.

The comment from Pope Francis surprised many observers of the Papacy. Many are asking whether his comments are an indication of the Church inching toward a new tolerance.

Guests

Thomas Groome, professor of theology and religious education at Boston College.

Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of Dignity USA, a Boston-based group of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Catholics.


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