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Pope Francis: “Who Am I to Judge” Gay Clergy

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Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

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ABOARD THE PAPAL AIRCRAFT (AP) - Pope Francis is reaching out to gays, saying he won’t judge priests for their sexual orientation, in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference as he returns from his first foreign trip.

Francis says: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

His predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, authored a document that said men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be priests. Francis is being much more conciliatory, saying gay clergymen should be forgiven and their sins forgotten.

His remarks came Monday during a plane journey back to the Vatican from his first foreign trip in Brazil.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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