Pope Francis: ‘Who Am I To Judge Gay People?’

Pope Francis has addressed gay people and heaven in comments as he left a mass in Brazil, in a remark that is sure to spark religious debate in and outside the Catholic Church.

While the Church has long opposed sanction of homosexuality, Pope Francis has seemingly contradicted his predecessor — Pope Benedict XVI — in saying something that also is at direct odds with American Evangelical Christian doctrine, and which has spilled over into divisive US political arguments.

The “Humble Pope” simply said:

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

While the question of “who am I to judge” may be a bit funny coming from the Pope, the lack of ego and disinclination to behave in a haughty fashion is one many have already come to expect from the recently ascended leader of the Catholic Church.

CBS reports that Pope Francis’ gay remarks were part of a larger set of comments during which His Holiness was “funny and candid during a news conference that lasted almost an hour and a half,” and noting that “he didn’t dodge a single question, even thanking the journalist who raised allegations reported by an Italian newsmagazine that one of his trusted monsignors was involved in a scandalous gay tryst.”

Pope Benedict spoke more about the Catechism of the church as it relates to gay members, adding:

“The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well… It says they should not be marginalized because of this but that they must be integrated into society.”

He did, however, decry lobbies including gay lobbies, concluding:

“The problem is not having this orientation… We must be brothers. The problem is lobbying by this orientation, or lobbies of greedy people, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the worse problem.”

Do you think Pope Francis’ acceptance of gay Catholics and gay people in general further widens the gulf between the Catholic Church and American Evangelicals?