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July 29th, 2013
08:48 AM ET

Pope Francis on gays: 'Who am I to judge?'

By John L. Allen Jr. and Hada Messia, CNN

Aboard the Papal Airplane (CNN) - Pope Francis said Monday that he will not "judge" gays and lesbians, including gay priests, signaling a shift from his predecessor and offering another sign that the new pope is committed to changing the church's approach to historically marginalized groups.

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis said in a wide-ranging news conference aboard the papal plane.

Though he was answering a question about the so-called "gay lobby" at the Vatican, the pope indicated a change in tone, if not in teaching, in the church's stance towards gays and lesbians more generally.

The pope was flying back to Rome from Brazil, where he spent the past week celebrating World Youth Day, an international Catholic event that drew millions.

Taking questions from reporters aboard the plane, the pope addressed nearly every hot-button issue facing the Roman Catholic Church: its alleged "gay lobby," Vatican bank corruption, the role of women, abortion, homosexuality and his own personal security.

But it was the pope's remarks on homosexuality - the fact that the head of a 1 billion-member church said that it's not his place to judge gays - that caused the widest stir.

"Pope Francis's brief comment on gays reveals great mercy," said the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor at America, a Catholic magazine based in New York.

"Today Pope Francis has, once again, lived out the Gospel message of compassion for everyone," Martin said.

The pontiff spoke  for an hour and a half in the back of the plane that was carrying him back to Italy after his first international trip as pope to Brazil, where he was greeted by massive, frenzied crowds at every turn.

"I'm happy. It has been a beautiful trip, spiritually speaking; it has been good to me. I'm tired enough but with a heart full of joy," he said.

Here are the highlights from his press conference.

On the 'gay lobby' and homosexuality

The pope addressed the issue of an alleged "gay lobby" within the church. Hints that the Holy See contained a network of gay clergy surfaced last year in reports about a series of embarrassing leaks to Italian journalists.

The "Vatileaks" scandal factored in Benedict's shocking decision to resign this year, according to some church experts, as it impressed upon the 86-year-old pontiff that the modern papacy requires a vigorous and watchful presence.

"There's a lot of talk about the gay lobby, but I've never seen it on the Vatican ID card!" Francis said.

"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 (to homosexuality) is not the problem ... they're our brothers."

The problem, he said was, lobbies that work against the interest of the church.

In 2005, during the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican issued directives barring from the priesthood men "who are actively homosexual, have deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called 'gay culture.'"

Francis' brief remarks seem to signal a sharp shift from that policy.

On women

The pope also spoke out about the role of women in the church, saying it needs to be deeper and not end. But he brushed aside the possibility of ordaining women as priests, saying the church had spoken on the matter: "The church says no. That door is closed." He did say that more work needed to be done theologically on the role of women in the church.

On abortion

Pope watchers have noted that Francis said little to nothing about abortion on his trip to Brazil. Abortion is illegal in Brazil, except for cases in which the health of the mother is at risk. Laws were recently changed to allow abortions in cases in which the child would be born with certain life-threatening birth defects.

The pope said he had nothing to say on the trip about abortion because the church teachings against it were clear and this trip was the time for "positive" news.

On divorce

"I believe this is a time of mercy, a change of epoch," the pope said when asked about divorce. He said the group of eight cardinals tasked with reform will explore the issue of whether divorcees can receive Communion, which they are currently barred from doing.

On the Vatican Bank

The pope conceded he was unsure what to do with the Vatican Bank, which is known by its acronym IOR.

"Some say that it would be better if it were a bank, others say that it should be a foundation. Other say to shut it down. These are the suggestions going around. I don't know. I trust the commission's members that are working on the IOR. But I wouldn't be able to tell you how this story is going to end."

And as for what was in the black leather bag he carried onto the plane? A razor, a prayer book, a diary and a book about St. Theresa, but, the pope joked, "Certainly not the keys to the atomic bomb!"

He said he carried his own bags because, "It's normal, we have to be normal. We have to be accustomed to being normal."

CNN's Eric Marrapodi and Daniel Burke contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Abortion • Brazil • Catholic Church • Pope Francis • Vatican

soundoff (3,302 Responses)
  1. Michael

    Different Pope, same Satan

    July 29, 2013 at 9:16 am |
    • johno54

      Be careful guy, you might have just thrown a stone into a hornets nest. Your irreverence has been twofold, like being between the devil and the deep blue sea. I do hope you are prepared to swim or drown. whatever it may be, be prepared.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:59 am |
      • AutoDeFe

        They don't care. They don't believe in anything. The only solution is to attack them before it's too late.

        July 29, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
        • Luke

          Ignorance is bliss, isn't it?

          Keep blindly follow your religion, even though history has proven it in fact has caused the most destruction, pain, and misery then anything else.

          July 29, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
        • Youtube - The Origin of Religion

          Religion and Origin[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88GTUXvp-50&w=640&h=390]

          October 3, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
      • Omar

        Michael is correct.

        July 29, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
      • Lawrence

        That didn't scare Martin Luther...

        July 29, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • joe

      Pray that the Muslims don't take over the world, then you'll see some serious intolerance.

      July 29, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Tranq

      Has this Pope declare God's Bible that he says is the word of God, has just declared the very Bible he claims to believe in Obsolete?!
      In the Old Testament:

      [Levicticus:20:13]

      In the New Testament:

      [Jude:1:7] & [1 Corinthians:6:9-10]

      it says a completely different thing Pope ! LoL

      September 2, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • peacetoworld

      KEY to Paradise
      http://www.huda.tv/articles/what-is-islam/875-qkeyq-to-paradise

      February 24, 2014 at 6:36 am |
  2. IvotedforObama

    Oh my goodness! A Christian who actually follows the Bible. He is correct. Who is he to judge? Let God judge who is right or wrong.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:14 am |
    • me

      If you follow that line of reasoning, then we should let murderers run free.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:21 am |
      • me's owner

        Fallible argument, since judgment on murder and judgment on salvation are not the same.

        July 29, 2013 at 9:40 am |
      • tagapay3

        me
        If you follow that line of reasoning, then we should let murderers run free.
        ---------
        Relationships and murder are totally related, right?
        He didn't say "Who am I to judge?" on every matter, genius.

        July 29, 2013 at 9:40 am |
      • Tweety Bird

        You DF being gay isn't a crime, murder is.

        July 29, 2013 at 9:48 am |
        • Omar

          You're right, Tweety. It's an abomination.

          July 29, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
      • Jim

        Thanks for jumping right into the most extreme scenario, which in reality is not a correct comparison to what the pope said....

        July 29, 2013 at 10:44 am |
      • heather marsha

        Peope made it illegal to report cex crimes in the catholic church, dont believe me? Google it yourself, how evil is that??? Funny how they are not reporting on it.

        July 29, 2013 at 11:24 am |
      • norman

        me, youre a dummy

        July 29, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
      • maggie

        By your logic, we should let adulterers and fornicators run free. Which one are you?

        July 30, 2013 at 8:27 am |
    • Ernie franco

      You are right let God judge. He has already judged. He hates all sin. The consequence is an eternal hell. If we put our faith in Christ and repent we will escape His wrath and spend eternity with Him. We have to let people know.

      July 29, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
      • Omar

        Hell is a myth!!! A lake of fire and hell ARE NOT the same thing. The bible is clear that the wicked will be ASHES under our feet, How can a loving God burn a man who died at 26years for eternity??? The consequence does not match the crime. It wouldn't even be justified for Satan. Read you bibles and stop repeating what you hear from the pulpits. Your ETERNAL LIFE is at stake!

        July 29, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
        • Eric

          The Bible says that death AND hell will be cast into the lake of fire. I suggest you read your Bible.

          July 29, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
        • Paul

          Prove it Omar – prove one single word of your dark ages mythology.The cold reality is that you are simply repeating what you were taught. You have no proof of anything – no one does. BUT I know you serve evil because of your blatant hatred for others not like you. God is love – end of discussion so if anything other than love comes out of your mouth then you serve the Devil and should be worried about your own soul before casting any stones.

          July 29, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
        • GodGrief

          My wife serves evil... Its called Meatloaf... Zing.

          July 29, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
        • Elspeth

          @GodGrief...don't touch it, it's evil

          July 30, 2013 at 4:25 am |
      • MM

        "You are right let God judge. He has already judged."

        Then he needs no help from you on that front. So who are you to judge?

        July 29, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
  3. Jan

    finally

    July 29, 2013 at 9:13 am |
  4. Mel the Black Republican

    Interesting stance the Pope took on "gays". I wonder if the Catholic Church will be open to his assessment on the topic.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • johno54

      You are absolutely wrong. He loves the sinner but hates the sinner's sin. You need to see the forest for the trees. You evil person and your broad brush.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:19 am |
      • maggie

        What did Mel say that was evil?

        July 30, 2013 at 8:28 am |
      • maggie

        So, John, given his comment about women in the church, are women sinners too? Is that why they can't be ordained?

        July 30, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • Tweety Bird

      Since you are either an evangelical Christian, or the world's worst Catholic. Google "Papal Infallibility."

      July 29, 2013 at 9:51 am |
      • johno54

        I don't have to Google anything. The Pope is first and foremost a man and that alone makes him fallible. But he knows what it means to be first and foremost a man of God. If he is wrong which I think not God will set him right and we shall be witnesses.

        July 29, 2013 at 11:38 am |
        • Illinois SA

          John, the funny thing is, if he said exactly what you think, you'd be singing his praises and defending his 'infallibility' to the same people you are arguing with now. The pope is widely considered, among catholics, to be the highest religious authority on the face of the earth. Religion, on the whole, is completely ridiculous so I'm inclined to agree with you...but not for the same reasons.

          July 29, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
        • maggie

          Pure babble, John. Seriously?

          July 30, 2013 at 8:28 am |
      • Laura H.

        Every word the pope says is not taken as infallible. Look it up on Wikipedia: "The Catholic Church does not teach that the pope is infallible in everything he says; official invocation of papal infallibility is – apart from canonizations of saints – extremely rare."

        July 29, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • desert voice

      Teaching the truth is not judging. The Judge is God!

      August 21, 2013 at 9:36 am |
  5. I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

    As leaders of archaic religious organisations go, Francis is probably the best. If it hopes to survive, the Catholic Church needs to modernize. Franky Boy seems to realize this.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • Not Alone

      So many 'experts' like you know what is best for the Church if it is to survive. The Church has survived wave after wave of persecution and, without shifting it's values, has survived them all. We will continue to suffer for our values. So what....

      July 29, 2013 at 9:20 am |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        Don't you mean 'committed wave after wave of persecution' or something along those lines? That would be more apt.

        July 29, 2013 at 9:25 am |
        • A real pope...

          That does indeed sound more fitting

          July 29, 2013 at 10:47 am |
      • Enrique

        It is called brainwashing

        July 29, 2013 at 9:28 am |
      • Hi

        Pfft, survived through male dominance, delusion, torture and fear. Disgusting

        July 29, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
      • Sandor

        "The Church has survived wave after wave of persecution and, without shifting it's values," The history of the Church is basically a history of shifting theology or interpretation of the words in the bible. This is same Church that locked up Copernicus for saying the sun was the center of the solar system and burned Giordano Bruno for saying that the sun was a star. These days the Catholic Church is smart enough not to have an official position on the age of the universe and allows for the possibility of evolution. They've evolved so that their interpretation of the Bible had less likelihood of running completely counter to what we can see with our own eyes when we walk into the Natural History Museum. The church has changed a great deal since the Crusades, when killing heretics and giving money was a shortcut to salvation. So to say it hasn't shifted it's values is really not accurate.

        July 29, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
      • Illinois SA

        On the contrary, the church has shifted its view countless times and attendance is in decline anyway. Dodge, perry, duck, perry, dodge.... Eventually, it won't matter and people will no longer be able to believe in the delusional myth that is religion. Good luck with that though.

        July 29, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
      • Elspeth

        Oh pulease, the Church changes its values ALL THE TIME. Sheesh, it even apologized to the Jews.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:28 am |
    • BC

      Focus on the good in your heart and not the evil in others.

      My quote
      2013

      July 29, 2013 at 9:24 am |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        My heart pumps blood through my body, it doesn't contain abstract valuations of behavior.

        July 29, 2013 at 9:27 am |
  6. Jan L

    I really like this guy...and I am not even Catholic!

    July 29, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      You can make an inquiry into the Church at your local parish. We welcome all seekers

      July 29, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
      • Elspeth

        Not in actuality though. The Church is the first to cast out all who do not please it. Jesus on the other hand, now he accepted all comers.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:31 am |
  7. maggiemct

    Once again, the media fails to fact-check. Divorcees are NOT prohibited from receiving communion.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • Mark

      I thought the same thing. But of course the liberal media will try and force their agenda in a religious article by falsy promoting them as bad. They are ruining this country.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:14 am |
      • Come on

        Can we for once leave the "liberal" labels out? It's not the "liberal media" destroying the country; it's extremist thinking on either side of the aisle. People on the far right have demonised my religion, too. As the other comments will show, people who are divorced do lose some privileges re communion. Just because the author interpreted it or used wrong wording isn't about the liberal media. Sometimes they just don't get the finer details correct or they describe them in different terms. Lots of religions are commonly described in erroneous ways by people who may not know enough about those religions to understand the difference. It's more often than not due to ignorance and naivete rather than malice from either conservative or liberal media. Frankly, I have seen more twisting of facts by Fox (right-wing) than the left or mainstream. So let's just settle down. PS I'm not American, so I'm looking at this as an outsider.

        July 29, 2013 at 10:28 am |
        • Damia Savon

          The media as a whole is not "liberal". A T.V. station or newspaper may have a bias, though not nearly as bad as it was a hundred years ago when newspapers were still the main news source. Most towns and cities had multiple newspapers and they often had a definite political bias.

          The term "liberal media" is a creation by far Right conservatives who believe that the media does not accurately report the doings of "liberals" and unfairly portrays conservatives. That line of argument started back in the 50s by southerners who claimed that life for African Americans and segregation was not bad, the evil Northern media just portrayed it that way. After Vietnam and Nixon, the media became more skeptical, and perhaps cynical, regarding government and politicians but that does not equal a "liberal" bias. Analysis of coverage in the latest Presidential election actually showed a strong conservative bias with far more attention given to Republican candidates and anti-Obama quotes and observations.

          The "liberal media" is, on one hand, a crutch used by Conservatives to explain their failure to communicate their message and to bring people to their way of thinking. Basically the argument is "If the media did their job then everyone would hate Clinton, Obama, etc." That is a false belief for obvious reasons. On the other hand, despite pandering to all demographics, corporations are conservative by nature. They want less oversight, regulation or change by government. It is actually in their interest to create the perception of bias because it discredits liberal/progressive ideas in the minds of people who believe in fairness and won't support causes supposedly given one-sided reporting.

          July 29, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • Tweety Bird

      They are living in mortal sin and are forbidden from taking communion.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:20 am |
      • Damia Savon

        If your priest is telling you that then he is wrong and needs to go back to school.

        July 29, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Faith for unfaithful

      I am not allowed, so I go to receive in the Anglican Church.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:22 am |
      • Louise

        A divorcee is only restricted from the sacraments if they remarry. A divorced single person in the church is accepted in full. When a divorcee remarries, that is the sin – according to the church, the first marriage is still in effect unless disolved by annulment.
        Geez, somebody PLEASE look up the facts.

        July 29, 2013 at 9:28 am |
        • Kianasmum

          I am a single mother and whenever I've attended church, no one asked me my "status" whenever I've stood to receive communion.

          July 29, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
      • Enrique

        Amen to that! You want an exclusionistic hollier than thou catholic church or an inclusionary episcopal church? give me episcopal!

        July 29, 2013 at 9:30 am |
      • Bill Deacon

        Louise is right. Yes, it's frustrating how the Church is misrepresented. Sometimes it's intended, mostly it's just ignorance. By ignorant, I mean uneducated, not stupid though often it is both.

        July 29, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Susan Hall

      Yes, they are.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • Susan

      I am not sure that is correct. It is possible that it is not forbidden, however, it is strongly frowned upon. Old beliefs ( and probably still current for some) view divorce as a sin to the catholic religion. My mother divorced an abusive husband about 40 years ago. She is in no way what you would call a bible thumper, attends church weekly, but does not receive communion and will not.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • Catholic

      Catholics who have been divorced and remarried, without having first obtained an annulment of the first marriage, are not permitted to receive the Eucharist.

      July 29, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Damia Savon

      I think the writer confused divorced with divorced and remarried. If you are divorced you can still receive Communion. If you are divorced and remarry without an annulment of your first marriage then you may not receive Communion.

      July 29, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Laura H.

      Divorcees ARE prohibited from taking communion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_915#Divorced_and_remarried_Catholics The Catholic Church doesn't recognize divorce - you can only marry one person. However, if you have your marriage ANNULLED (meaning that someone judges that it never really was a true marriage), then you are free to marry again. With all the errors being spouted on this page, I think we need to go back to having cathechism class.

      "The Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts issued on 24 June 2000 a declaration on the application of canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law to divorced Catholics who have remarried. Even if such people, while being unable for serious reasons, such as the upbringing of children, to separate, live in full continence, their publicly known objective situation as divorced and remarried Catholics excludes them from receiving Eucharistic Communion."

      July 29, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • Illinois SA

      Until they re-marry, that is.

      July 29, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
  8. FFighter46

    Moronic Liberals judge people just as quickly and as stupidly as conservatives.. Liberals think they are smarter, more enlightened than conservatives which is far from the truth. And conservatives think that they are smarter and more enlightened than liberals which is also far from the truth.

    Then you have me. A moderate. I think we should the take the best of the both.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:11 am |
    • Scott

      NAILED IT! Right on the head.

      Scott

      July 29, 2013 at 9:12 am |
      • Enrique

        Hey now, catholics aren't allowed to nail it unless they are creating life!

        July 29, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • johno54

      Wow guy your are so holy why don't you go start your own religion with your own puny god

      July 29, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • cbtx67

      Funny how I'm not here labeling conservatives as moronic. Hmm, but then I'm a liberal. "what would you say if they were calling you a liberal, fanatical, criminal?" supertramp As a former catholic, I left the church in college after leaving franciscan schools to a college with the more mainstream catholocism. This pope reminds me of my old catholic experience, I may actually consider going back. No, us liberals don't want to kill the world, or religion, we just want everybody to have that right, not just the judeo-christian sect. Prayer in school means muslim prayers, or wiccan spells or christian prayers.....don't think many conservatives would appreciate that. and as a liberal, I respect that and would rather have prayer outside of school. Not abolished, just in it's proper place. Mathew 6:6, read it.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:25 am |
      • johno54

        Not interested in your blathering Muddy waters.
        because you know too much and whine too much about too little, you narcissistic little imp.

        July 29, 2013 at 11:41 am |
        • Illinois SA

          What 'muddy waters', John? Pretty clear statement. Not to mention completely factual unlike your 3rd grade pointless rant. Aaaanyway....

          July 29, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
    • want2believe

      Ohhh the irony...

      July 29, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Ryan

      you have temporarily restored my faith in humanity

      July 29, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • pmclean1319

      So what you're saying is - Moderates think they're smarter than both conservatives and liberals.

      Everyone basically thinks they're smarter than everyone else. That's the problem! No one will listen to anyone else!

      July 29, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
  9. Scott

    CUE THE RELIGION HATERS! 😉

    Scott

    July 29, 2013 at 9:11 am |
    • midwest rail

      I believe the same could be said for those who hate gay people. Stick around and see.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • Hi

      More like cue the clueless Chavinistic deluded woman haters!

      July 29, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Susan

      The Religion Haters are those Christian and Muslim (any religion) bigots who cannot deal with diversity in an unstoppable universe but to go out and kill them. It is the religious army/country/government that goes out and starts a war in the name of their deity–not the other way around of people who want to be left alone.

      July 29, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Illinois SA

      It's not the religion, per se. It is the endless number of self-appointed morality enforcers who wear it like a tight pair of plaid pants.

      July 29, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
  10. Tom

    Typical spineless Pope. Isn't qualified to judge? Isn't that what he is there for? Of course it is. I'll tell you what he is not qualified for, the position of being Pope. The utter Loser

    July 29, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • Paul

      Seems like you are doing a lot of judging.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:15 am |
      • Susan

        Well Paul... people love to judge and the Pope isn't and God isn't–they are both deaf and dumb today.

        July 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Chuck Anziulewicz

      Don't forget the doctrine of "Papal Infallibility," Tom.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:16 am |
      • Cindy Smith

        The Pope is only considered infallible when he speaks "ex cathedra".

        July 29, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • Frank

      He is not there to judge! I don't believe Jesus ever passed judgement on anyone. Pope Francis is proving to be a pope for the ages and I, as a Catholic, am proud that he is the leader of my Church. The Church could use many more men like him to lead us. Hateful and divisive dialogue gets us absolutely nowhere and is not the message Jesus Christ intended us to spread.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:22 am |
      • Catholic

        Christ passed judgement on LOTS of people ! Take your Bible and read for yourself !

        July 29, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Tweety Bird

      His job is to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. His job is to preach the Catholic doctrine which is love; it's is repentance and forgiveness. It is not judgement, that is up to God.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • SentTheWave

      Alec: Quoted as having said, "Judge not, lest ye be judged."
      Contestant: Who is Jesus?

      DING!

      The Pope is still human. By the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we mortals aren't fit to judge our fellow man.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • Bill

      Don't worry, he is gay!

      July 29, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • Moe

      Spineless? Oh you mean he does not agree with you.
      Hardly. He has shown to be a Pope with the MOST determination and LEAST amount of fear we have seen.
      He walks among the crowds without fear. You call that spineless.
      He cares not what previous popes or the Vatican says about his actions. You call that spineless.
      He has a hard-fast view on every subject and is not afraid to express it. You call that spineless.
      Remember, he is a MESSENGER, not a judge. There is only one, single judge – remember that.
      So, who is he to judge? who are YOU to judge? The spineless look to make themselves appear stronger by criticizing the weakness of others. He does not do this.
      It would be wise to follow his lead, for he is a Pope that will bring us all closer to God. Because he is meek, THAT is what makes him strong.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • johno54

      You got it wrong dude, Your loser is Gods winner. The Lord moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform.
      Pope Francis is such a mystery carrying out the Lords wonder. You are only making it more abundantly clear.
      Thank you.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:28 am |
      • Tom

        You're an idiot

        July 29, 2013 at 9:52 am |
        • johno54

          Not yours, but Gods. You have nothing to teach me like God can. You are just trying to preserve the status quo of chaos and ignorance.

          July 29, 2013 at 11:44 am |
        • Illinois SA

          In 3 words...you said it all, brother!

          July 29, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
  11. Rebbe Bupkis

    This man has heart. I like him.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:10 am |
  12. Mark

    As an atheist, I find this stance strange. Gays are sinners, and do not have a place in the church. Until they repent they should not seek approval from them. The Church should not, and does not have to appease to them.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • Chuck Anziulewicz

      DEAR MARK:

      You claim to be an atheist, and you also say that Gay people are "sinners." Pardon me while my head explodes.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:18 am |
      • Damia Savon

        Uhhh he was stating the argument/belief that "Gays are sinners" not that he believes "gays are sinners".

        July 29, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • David Gabriel

      What?

      July 29, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • Thom

      If you are an atheist....what on earth do you know about "sin"?

      July 29, 2013 at 9:19 am |
      • tagapay3

        Thom, have you ever had bad food?
        How do you know it's bad? You're not even a chef.

        Just because you're not part of an expert panel doesn't mean that you can't understand something or research the topic. Most atheists made the choice because of their exposure to religious extremes or unfounded arguments. The rules of religion aren't hidden away from those who don't believe.

        July 29, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • SMITVICT

      As an atheist, what qualifies you to pontificate who is a sinner?

      July 29, 2013 at 9:21 am |
      • cbtx67

        Common rules in a religion are common rules, you can easily be an atheist and comment on common rules. Just like as a non muslim, I can comment on somebody claiming to be muslim eating tons of pork. He is not saying he agrees with it, just that according to the commonly known tenants of catholocism it seems counterculture. Atheists can pick up religious txts without bursting into flames, they just see them as stories, phylosophies, fables etc instead of fact. No, I'm not an atheist, but a unitarian universalist.

        July 29, 2013 at 9:30 am |
        • johno54

          This is the rub,
          Commonalities of religions is like a path to hell just good intentions. I would have preferred that you dealt with the specifies because there is a difference between being a tree in a forest, than just being a forest with the commonalities of trees.

          July 29, 2013 at 9:36 am |
        • Illinois SA

          Yes, please be more specific and less metaphorical. John is a little slow.

          July 29, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
        • Illinois SA

          Although he does believe in hell and that there's a road to it. Maybe he's just a moron.

          July 29, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
      • pmclean1319

        I was raised Catholic. Mark's question is both valid and accurate. There, are you satisfied?

        July 29, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
      • pmclean1319

        I was raised Catholic. Mark's question is both valid and accurate. Are you satisfied?

        July 29, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
      • Damia Savon

        Probably because religions are not shy about stating what is a sin to their faith and condemning sinners. So it is not exactly hard to determine.

        July 29, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Jay in Florida

      You don't have to profess a religion of any kind in order to understand compassion... something that obviously, you don't do.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • Thoughtful Christrian

      If you are an atheist, then how can you say something is a sin? Atheists do not believe in God, therefore, they do not believe in God's rules. Therefore, there is no "sin."

      July 29, 2013 at 9:23 am |
      • Damia Savon

        Someone can make an observation and comment about your religion's belief regarding what is a sin and who are sinners without being a member of that faith.

        July 29, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
      • Illinois SA

        What's a 'christrian'?

        July 29, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • Odin029

      Technically the church is on earth to serve as shepherds to the people and if gay people or divorcees who remarry are part of the 1 sheep that got a way then the church has to seek and find them and try to help bring them to the Lord as well. That's the job and this Pope is actually taking his job seriously.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:25 am |
      • Come on

        Beautifully put. He's setting the example of how we are to seek after those. And are we not all at some point the 1 sheep? Are we not all our brother's keeper to help them be better people as we hope that others will lift our load to become better people? He is one of the best examples of a servant trying to lighten the load of the weary. I'm not even Catholic and I love this guy and the fact that his actions reflect those of Christ. He's one of the best faces of Christianity right now!

        July 29, 2013 at 10:38 am |
        • Bill Deacon

          I think he's brilliant. I've been on these blogs a number of years and it's fascinating to see how he turns the conventional conversations on their ears with a few simple statements.

          July 29, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • johno54

      Hey dude your are not just satisfied being a biological mistake you are now offering opinions to those of us who have accepted that we were created by God Himself ?
      Where is the lightening and thunder when I need it.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:31 am |
      • Illinois SA

        John, even If you believe god created humans, he didn't create YOU. Your parents did. However, if god DID create you, he created everyone and doesn't that just make your 'biological mistake' quip sound a little silly? By the way, biology is science. So much hypocrisy in one statement...amazing.

        July 29, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
  13. Rick

    If a person was looking for Jesus Christ, that person would not be gay because he would know the error of his ways.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • Cindy Smith

      We are all sinners. One of the greatest sins of all is to judge others.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:26 am |
      • Capt Nemo

        >We are all sinners

        No, we are all fallible humans. That doesn't make us evil or bad, just improvable.

        If you accept that you are a sinner, you've been beaten into submission by the authoritarians. Don't let them do that to you: you aren't a sinful wretch; in fact you are a beautiful person who can be as kind and loving as you're willing to let yourself be.

        July 29, 2013 at 11:06 am |
        • boredofceleb

          I think it's fair to say there is evil and good in ALL humans. If you want to call evil "sin", what difference does it make?

          July 29, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
    • SentTheWave

      Judge not, lest ye be judged.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:26 am |
      • Terry

        and the second part of that says....For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

        You can judge but in your judgement you will be held to the same standard.

        July 30, 2013 at 12:49 am |
    • Ari3s

      heh. Heh heh. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha HAAAAAAAHahahahahahahaha

      July 29, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • johno54

      Dah, What error are you professing? as a matter of fact, where is the investment that mankind should have made to understand why people are gay.
      We have people pouring great piles of money into elimination cancer, autism and so many other illnesses. Where is the money being invested into finding out why people are gay? What empirical evidence do you speak from when you condemn gays and lesbians so that quacks like yourself can have a soap box from which to spew your vitriol?

      July 29, 2013 at 9:42 am |
  14. amirite

    I'm an atheist, but it looks like this pope needs to read the Bible more.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:09 am |
    • johno54

      I'm sure the Pope has read the bible and understood it more than you have. Better still he is surrounded by many more erudite bishops who are glad to expound to him about any and everything in the bible. Better still he is privy to knowledge that you could not even comprehend, and yet you are no David come to slay Goliath.
      You are out of your league and you should know your place.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:52 am |
      • Bill Deacon

        amen

        July 29, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
      • Damia Savon

        Those who ran the Inquisition read the Bible and would also argue that they understood it very well.

        July 29, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
      • Illinois SA

        Well it seems you certainly know your place, John. Here, defending the pope...wait, no, saying the pope is wrong...wait, no, defending the pope again. Hmmm...maybe you should learn your place.

        July 29, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
  15. Steve

    Well it is a step in the right direction.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:09 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      The next step is yours Steve, into the confessional

      July 29, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
  16. grafixer

    THANK GOD! Finally, Catholics have a Pope that has the faith of a Christian.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:09 am |
  17. Jenny

    Francis sounds like a pretty decent guy. For a change. But none of it matters since there is no god anyway.
    First reaction, too, is it's nice he isn't harsh about gays. Second was, but maybe he's paving the way for an apologetic regarding the many priests who molest boys.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • steve

      It doesnt matter if there is God, if this man has sway over millions of people. And nobody thinks that Child Molesters are Gay.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • Capt Nemo

      It doesn't matter if there is a God or not; the Catholic Church needs a massive overhaul or it's going to keep on doing the same things it's been doing, for good and ill, for centuries.

      And there's been a lot of "ill" which the Church refuses to address or correct.

      July 29, 2013 at 11:08 am |
  18. splassher6

    Same stance the Catholic Church has for pedophiles

    July 29, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Except pedophilia is abhorrent to any decent person, whereas being gay isn't.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:14 am |
      • boredofceleb

        I would LOVE to know the meaning of your moniker!!! Very intriguing!

        July 29, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
  19. skarrlette

    Who are you too judge. I though that is what you Catholics did judge. Oh wait you want to pretend is gays when its PEDOPHILES.

    If you care so much about the poor in Brazil why don~t you give them 500 million dollars from the coffers of the blood money you have stolen. Didn't Jesus say give your wealth away.

    Catholic church = HYPOCRITES

    July 29, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • Tom

      Sure. And Gays=Immoral freaks. There is nothing you can ever say or do to change this. It is a law

      July 29, 2013 at 9:12 am |
      • SentTheWave

        And you are an a$$hat. It is law.

        July 29, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • gg

      You don't know what you are talking about.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:19 am |
  20. Jim

    The Pope isn't qualified to judge, but millions of asshat conservatives are better than the Pope, so it's okay for them to judge.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • Steve

      problem is the pope is an asshat just like you.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:09 am |
    • meltemi

      and here you are judging conservatives. What does that make you?

      July 29, 2013 at 9:17 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.