Pope Francis says he cannot judge gays

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popeVATICAN CITY – Man, Pope Francis is a man with his own plan. The Pope mobile? Nah, ride in a van. You`re an atheist? He said you could go to heaven.

And now, he’s talking about where gays can go—it comes after his week-long trip to Brazil. The 76-year-old pontiff addressed reporters aboard his flight back to Rome and minced no words when asked about gays and the Catholic Church.

“If a person is gay and accepts the lord and has good will,’ the Pope said, ‘who am I to judge them.”

It’s a stark revelation for those in the gay and lesbian community in the wake of the Catholic church’s thousands-year-old doctrine preaching against homosexuality.

“This statement by the Pope is a relief,’ says Chris Kerr of The Montrose Center, ‘that regardless of their different religious beliefs that they may have from his, that he wants to treat people with dignity, respect and free from discrimination.”

And while many in the gay community are pleased with the Pope’s candid remarks, others within the church say, ‘not so fast.’ Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Galveston/Houston Archdiocese released a statement saying in part:

“Our faith teaches that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. When the Holy Father spoke about homosexual persons who search for the lord with humble and contrite hearts, he was making a traditional and classic statement of our understanding of the catholic faith.”

And while the Catholic Church at large may not agree with their holy leader’s remarks, it’s an opening for those who have felt neglected by the church so long.

“Years and years ago I had a lady who was going through our ‘coming out’ support group,’ Chris Kerr says. ‘And at the end she was stuck and she was struggling and she had been raised Catholic and she finally said, with an awful lot of pain in her voice, ‘if only the Pope would say it’s okay, then I could be okay.'”

So, is this the “OK” some people have been waiting for?  It might depend on how many people in the church are “ok” with being gay.