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Omaha Archdiocese Says Pope's Comments Didn't Break New Ground

Omaha Archdiocese Says Pope's Comments Didn't Break New Ground

By Jennifer Griswold. CREATED Jul 29, 2013

Omaha, NE - Many were surprised to hear that Pope Francis told reporters he won't judge priests for their sexual orientation. 

The pope today told reporters during a flight home from Brazil, "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"

The pope also referred to homosexual acts as sins. 

The comments triggered a mix of responses. 

Deacon Tim McNeil with the Archdiocese of Omaha issued this statement: “Pope Francis did not break any new ground or make any new pronouncement during his impromptu news conference with the international media. Pope Francis simply restated Catholic Church teaching – the Church objects to homosexual activity, not homosexuals."

The largest gay rights group in the United States says the comments reflect a "hopeful change in tone." Whereas the head of the Human Rights Campaign says as long as gays are told in church that their lives are "sinful because of how they were born," then "the church is sending a deeply harmful message."