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In New Interview, Pope Rejects Hard-Line Stance Against Gay Catholics

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Jay Levine Jay Levine
Jay Levine is the chief correspondent for CBS 2 Chicago. He joined...
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(CBS) — More evidence of big change at the Vatican.

In a new interview, Pope Francis talks about his view of gay Catholics, women priests and other controversial issues.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports.

In a cover story in Jesuit publications around the world, including “America” here, the pope deals head-on with his reputation as being ultra-conservative.

“I have never been a right-winger,” he said. “It was my authoritarian way of making decisions that created problems.”

And he dealt head-on with questions like homosexuality.

“Tell me: When God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person? We must always consider the person,” the pope said.

It was similar to that airborne news conference when he replied, “Who am I to judge?”

“This time he is saying all people are welcome in the church and I’m not one going to be one who’s just going to rail on a few issues just because the right wing wants me to,” former priest Michael Herman says.

Some conservatives have criticized the pope for not speaking out against abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods.

“It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” Pope Francis says. “Especially because the teaching of the church on these matters is already clear.”

“If we lead all the time with the hot-button moral issues, very often people are just put off. I think what he’s saying is lead with the great, powerful, lyrical, poetic truths of the faith,” Rev. Robert Barron of Mundelin Seminary says.

One area where there no room for compromise is women priests; it’s not going to happen, the pope said.

“Women are asking deep questions that must be addressed,” he says. “The church cannot be herself without the woman and her role.”

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