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Gay rights group 'baffled' by Pope's comments

Gay rights group Stonewall told ITV News it is baffled by the Pope's comments on gay priests.

While many lesbian, gay and bisexual Catholics will no doubt welcome this change in tone, the Pope’s criticism of those who lobby for gay equality sounds baffling when his Church still lobbies ferociously worldwide against gay people’s basic human rights.

– Richard Lane, Stonewall External Affairs Officer

Stonewall had objected to a section of the Pope's comments which had followed headline remarks about not wanting to judge priests who are gay:

"The problem is not having this [homosexual] 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," he had said.


Pope: Who am I to judge gay people?

Pope Francis reached out to gay people in his first news conference, which was held aboard the papal plane as he returned to Rome from his historic maiden trip overseas to Brazil.

Pope Francis told reporters he would not judge priests for their sexual orientation: "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"

Pope Francis addressed reporters aboard the Papal plane. Credit: RTV

The pontiff's words signal a move away from the views traditionally held by the Roman Catholic Church - his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, authored a document that said men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be priests.

During his 90-minute news conference the pope appeared relaxed and smiled frequently as he answered every question.

The pontiff said he would not judge gay priests. Credit: RTV

The pontiff even thanked the journalist who raised allegations reported by an Italian newsmagazine that one of his trusted monsignors was involved in a scandalous gay tryst.

Francis said he investigated and found nothing to back up the allegations.

Once he had returned to Rome, Francis tweeted to his 2.7 million followers: "I am back home, and I assure you that my joy is much greater than my exhaustion!"


Pope Francis draws 2m for vigil on Copacabana Beach

Pope Francis drew an estimated two million Catholic faithful to Rio's Copacabana Beach for the final evening of World Youth Day, hours after he chastised the Brazilian church for failing to stem the "exodus" of Catholics to evangelical congregations.

In the longest and most important speech of his four-month pontificate, Pope Francis said: "At times we lose people because they don't understand what we are saying, because we have forgotten the language of simplicity and import an intellectualism foreign to our people.

Pope Francis greets the faithful as he arrives at Copacabana Beach. Credit: Reuters

"Without the grammar of simplicity, the Church loses the very conditions which make it possible to fish for God in the deep waters of his mystery", he added.

Catholic faithful crowd the streets and Copacabana Beach. Credit: Reuters/Sergio Moraes

Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Rio de Janeiro

Pope Francis celebrated Mass in Rio de Janeiro's San Sebastian Cathedral on his last full day in the country before he returns to Rome.

He challenged the Catholic clergy around the world to get out of their churches and preach, and go to the farthest reaches of society to find the faithful.

Pope Francis addresses the congregation. Credit: Reuters

"A bishop, a priest, consecrated people, a seminarian cannot be forgetful", the pontiff said.

Inside the Sao Sebastiao Cathedral Credit: Reuters

Wind-whipped Pope gives sermon on Copacabana

Pope Francis was battered by the wind and soaked with rain but continued to speak to the faithful on the beach. Credit: Reuters

Pope Francis braved the elements to deliver a speech during the Catholic Church's World Day of Youth at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro.

Pope Francis is on the fourth day of his week-long visit for World Youth Day which has seen regular downpours.

Pope Francis was battered by the wind and soaked with rain but continued to speak to the faithful on the beach. Credit: Reuters

The non-stop rain forced the Vatican to relocate a Mass that Pope Francis will celebrate on Sunday from a rural countryside west of Rio de Janeiro to Copacabana beach when the fields turned to mud.

Pope Francis was battered by the wind and soaked with rain but continued to speak to the faithful on the beach. Credit: Reuters
Pope Francis receives some help with his wayward mantle. Credit: Reuters

Pope opens World Youth Day on Copacabana beach

Pope Francis stands on the huge stage while presiding the Catholic Church's World Day of Youth at Copacabana beach. Credit: Reuters

Pope Francis is presiding at the World Youth Day opening on Copacabana beach, he was driven slowly through a huge adoring crowd, stopping to kiss babies and even to give his white skullcap to someone who had sewn a home-made one for him and ran to the car to hand it to him.

Pope Francis is projected on screens at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro. Credit: Reuters
Catholic faithful throng the streets during the arrival of Pope Francis at Copacabana beach. Credit: Reuters
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