Pope Francis: Who am I to judge gay people?

BY: Arku Jasmine

Pope FrancisPope Francis has said gay people should not be judged or marginalised.

Speaking to reporters on a flight back from Brazil, he said: "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?"

The Pope's remarks are being seen as much more conciliatory than his predecessor's position on the issue.

Turning to the issue of women priests, he said the Church had spoken and had said "no", but the role of women should not be restricted.

"We cannot limit the role of women in the Church to altar girls or the president of a charity, there must be more," he said in a wide-ranging 80-minute long interview with Vatican journalists.

Five months after he took over from Pope Benedict, he said gay people should be fully accepted in society, even though the Catholic teaching was that homosexual acts were sinful.

"The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well," Pope Francis said.

"It says they should not be marginalised because of this but that they must be integrated into society."

But he condemned what he described as lobbying by gay people.

"The problem is not having this orientation," he said. "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."

Source: BBC