On the way to Rio de Janeiro on July 22, Pope Francis told reporters that “I don’t give interviews.” But at the end of his seven-day tour de force in Brazil, not only did the pope give an interview, it was a whopper.He took questions from reporters traveling aboard the papal plane for a full hour and twenty-one minutes, with no filters or limits and nothing off the record. Francis stood for the entire time, answering without notes, and never refusing to take a question.…When asked about the Vatican’s alleged “gay lobby,” he replied that while a lobby might be an issue, he doesn’t have any problem with the inclination to homosexuality itself: “Who am I to judge them if they’re seeking the Lord in good faith?” he said.
Wow. Raise your hand if you expected to hear those words coming from a pope’s mouth any time soon. The actual full quote was:
“There’s a lot of talk about the gay lobby, but I’ve never seen it on the Vatican ID card! When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem … they’re our brothers.”
It sounds pretty simple when he puts it that way. I know that the pope is not chosen for my pleasure, but this sensible, straight-talking pope is sure working for me so far.
Pope Francis just finished what must be called a triumphant visit to Brazil, which concluded yesterday with a mass before an estimated three million people on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro. Let’s look at a few photos from the trip.
The pope got a faceful of robe on a wind-whipped day at the airport in Rio last week.
…and was followed by a procession of cardinals and Vatican dignitaries.
The pope charms Brazilian president Dilma Roussef shortly after his arrival on July 22nd.
Pope Francis receives the keys to the city of Rio de Janeiro. He also blessed the Olympic flag for the city’s big summer Olympics next year.
We can’t identify this man, alas. WENN describes it this way: “Pope Francis meets the leaders of Brazil at Rio de Janeiro’s Municipal Theater.”
Pope Francis also greeted school children…
…and a pregnant woman in a very groovy dress.
Crowds gathered on the beach in Rio for the World Youth Day celebrations all weekend.
…and the pope spoke in wind and rain.
And of course, he waved to crowds from his popemobile. Thrilling the crowds and spreading goodwill even to “the gay lobby” — a productive week.
See more photos of Pope Francis I »