During a Monday press conference, Pope Francis responded to questions about a reported "gay lobby" within the Vatican.
"If someone is gay, who searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge," the Pope remarked in part.
"The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well," the Pope continued. "It says they should not be marginalized because of this (orientation) but that they must be integrated into society."
The remarks stand in stark contrast to the Pope's long history of anti-gay comments. For instance:
- In July 2010, Pope Francis said of marriage equality: “Let's not be naive: This is not a simple political fight; it is a destructive proposal to God's plan. This is not a mere legislative proposal (that's just its form), but a move by the father of lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”
- Also in 2010, he claimed that adoption by gay and lesbian couples was a form of discrimination against children. His rhetoric was so strong that Argentina's President, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, said his tone was reminiscent of "medieval times and the Inquisition."
"Let's not forget, Pope Francis had no problem passing judgment when he spoke out against marriage equality in Argentina, or when he claimed that adoption by same-sex parents is 'discrimination' against children," said GLAAD's Ross Murray. "The Pope's selective judgment is a clear indication that tides are changing, and the hierarchy is increasingly aware that its anti-gay views are out of step with Catholics across the globe. Already in the United States, a majority of Catholics have spoken out in support of their gay and lesbian brothers and sisters — a trend that will no doubt continue across nations."
According to the Pew Research Center, 7 in 10 American Catholics think gay people should be accepted by society.