Catholic: Pope Francis explains ‘who am i to judge?’ quip

Pope Francis has reiterated his relatively tolerant stance towards LGBT people, offering new details about a 2013 incident where he responded to a question about gay priests by saying “who am I to judge?”

In a new book, Pope Francis is quoted talking to an Italian journalist about the famous quip, which triggered a firestorm of media coverage and speculation over whether the pontiff would alter the Catholic Church’s firm opposition to same-sex relationships. The book cites Francis as he clarifies his theological justification for taking a more tolerant stance towards LGBT people.

“On that occasion I said this: If a person is gay and seeks out the Lord and is willing, who am I to judge that person?” the pope says in the new book, The Name of God is Mercy. “I was paraphrasing by heart the Catechism of the Catholic Church where it says that these people should be treated with delicacy and not be marginalized.”

“I prefer that homosexuals come to confession, that they stay close to the Lord, and that we pray all together,” Francis also says, in a possible reference to the Church’s historical stance that same-sex relationships are sinful. “You can advise them to pray, show goodwill, show them the way, and accompany them along it.” Read more via Think Progress