Pope Francis said he finds nothing objectionable about homosexual impulses and urged gay members of the clergy to follow their mission and eschew lobbying within the Church.
“The problem isn’t having this tendency,” Francis told reporters on his flight from Rio de Janeiro to Rome, according to video broadcast today on SkyTG24. “The problem is having political lobbies.”
Francis is reaching out to marginalized groups as the church seeks to rehabilitate an image tarnished by child sex abuse cases and allegations of money laundering. Francis, elected pope in March, made his first trip outside of Rome to a migrant camp on the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa on July 8 to chide Italy into embracing refugees. In Rio, Francis’s first mission abroad, the pope implored Catholic youths to get involved in politics.
Francis told reporters on the plane he won’t judge gay people who serve the church in good faith, according to reports by news agencies including the Associated Press and Ansa. Federico Lombardi, a spokesman for the Vatican, confirmed that Francis spoke about gay issues, while saying he couldn’t confirm the comments until the official transcript was prepared.
Francis drew 3 million to mass on Rio’s Copacabana beach yesterday and told his flock to set out together to evangelize. The pope’s appearance marked Catholic World Youth Day and attracted the attendance of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, her Argentine counterpart Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Bolivia’s leader Evo Morales.
“There are no borders, no limits to where Jesus sends us,” Francis said. “He sends us to evangelize to everyone, and not just those who appear closest, most open, and most welcoming. It’s for everyone. Do not have fear.”