'Who am I to judge gay people?' Pope Francis marks shift in Catholic attitude to homosexuality on Brazil trip

'If someone is gay and is looking for the Lord, who am I to judge him? You should not discriminate against or marginalise these people, and the Catechism says this as well'

Pope Francis has held out something resembling an olive branch to equality campaigners, after telling reporters it was not his position to judge people on account of their sexuality.

Returning to Rome from Rio de Janeiro today after triumphant World Youth Day celebrations, the Pontiff made his comments on homosexuals after a journalist quizzed him on the supposed “gay lobby” in the Vatican.

“A lot is written on the gay lobby in the Holy See, but I don’t have a list of those involved,” he said. “The problem is the formation of lobbies of whatever tendency – political, Masonic or gay. Lobbies are not good.

“But if someone is gay and is looking for the Lord, who am I to judge him? You should not discriminate against or marginalise these people, and the Catechism says this as well.”

The exchange, part of an informal, mid-air press conference, underlined the different approach and personality of Pope Francis compared to his more formal predecessor.

Pope Benedict XVI, who abdicated earlier this year, signed a document in 2005 that said men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be priests. Francis has been more conciliatory, saying gay clergymen should be forgiven and their sins forgotten.

Reporters on board the Pontiff’s aircraft said he was warm and witty during a press questions that lasted almost an hour and a half. He also made a point of responding to every question - even thanking the journalist who raised allegations by an Italian news magazine that one of his trusted monsignors, Battista Ricca the Vatican bank prelate, had been found trapped in a lift with a rent boy.

He said he had investigated the allegations and found them to be groundless.

He also made the point of distinguishing between a sin, which homosexuality might be considered under church teaching, and crimes, the category that he said paedophilia clearly fell into – perhaps underlining the church’s growing tolerance of child-abusing clerics.

The Argentine Pontiff was flying back from Brazil, his first overseas visit, which culminated with a rally on Rio’s Copacabana Beach attracting a crowd of nearly three million people.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine