Pope Francis speaks - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Pope Francis speaks

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

The Pope made the comment on the plane back from Brazil that he would not judge anyone who was gay but wanted to be a priest. The comments stunned many local Catholics

"Well. That's something you know.. Well I guess if you are serving the lord and you chose to be something else.. I guess who is he to judge?" said Hill Ibay.

"Only God can judge.. It's up to the Lord what he wants to do about it." said Sylvia Moya.

"If you are consecrated to the life of celibacy does it really matter the way you are wired internally" wondered Judy Baiamonte.

Gay priests have long been an issue in the Catholic Church. There is allegedly even a "gay lobby" inside the Vatican itself. Sexual abuse by priests has been another. The Church has been accused of shielding priests from legal action.

Amy Smith with the Survivors Network of Abuse By Priests says counter to what many believe the two are not related. Gay clergy are no more likely than straight clergy to molest and so they have no issue with gay clergy serving openly.

"It's not about sex. It's about preying on vulnerable child or adul;t and abusing the trust and the abuse of power and preying on that by using spirituality and the position of trust."

While some Church observers think the Pope's statement could signal more openness towards gays, the official line from the Church is there's nothing new here.

Father Dempsey with University of St. Thomas. He says he's been getting phone calls about the Pope's statement all day. He says people have it all wrong. The Church distinguishes between being gay which is not a sin and performing homosexual acts which is. The Pope was merely repeating long standing Church doctrine.

"I went to the official vatican website and go thought the doctrine of faith and I found the official documents of Ratzinger and others. He is just repeating what is in there."

He says even if this were a departure from dogma, you shouldn't read into it. The Pope would have been expressing personal opinion instead of a shift in official church doctrine. However this Pope has not been shy about swimming against the tide.

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