YEREVAN, ARMENIA - A recent Gallup poll showed Pope Francis is the world's most popular leader around. Catholics, Jews... even Atheists love him.
His numbers are sure to go up after what he said Sunday. The Pope was asked about a German cardinal's claim that the Catholic church should apologize for their negativity toward gays.
Pope Francis responded, "I believe the Church should not only apologize to this person who is gay who it has offended, but has to apologize to the poor, to exploited women, to children exploited for labor. It has to ask forgiveness for having blessed many weapons."
Houstonian Thiago Quintanilha gives the Pope's actions a thumbs up, "It's coming from the top that everyone should be embraced, everyone should be part of the community, doesn't matter if you're gay or not. Then I think that should change things up and make things better."
"I was raised Catholic, and I'm gay," says Houston resident Tim Kerlin, "and I remember hearing some terrible things said by the church or people who were part of the church. And I basically just left the church for that reason 'cause I knew that there was nothing wrong with me...but I think for some people it's not that easy. And they find themselves hating themselves just because of what the church is saying."
Rev. Troy Treash heads up Houston's Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church, a place of worship that embraces the LGBT community. Married to his husband for 18 years, he says he loves the compassion Pope Francis keeps showing, "We know that there are gay Catholic children who may not kill themselves because of what the Pope has said today. We know there are mothers and fathers who may not kick their kids out of the house because of what the Pope has said today."
Pope Francis' statement is a big switch from traditional Catholic beliefs. "Roman Catholic policy," explains Treash, "is that when homosexual persons act upon their orientation, their love, (they) consider that intrinsically disordered. ...so it's wonderful for the leader of the Church to reach out to us, and say, 'We don't want to hurt you.'"
"What I wanna ask Pope Francis back is, 'Will you change your policy, so that this doesn't continue to happen?''"
Let's hope the Pope's words are just the church's first step toward fully embracing all people... just as they are.