ROME (Reuters) - Pope Francis has said gay people should not be marginalized but integrated into society, in some of the most conciliatory remarks by a pontiff on the issue of homosexuality.
In a broad-ranging 80-minute conversation with journalists on the plane bringing him back from a week-long visit to Brazil on Sunday night, he also said he could not judge gay priests, an emotive topic that divides Catholic opinion.
But the 76-year-old Argentine did reaffirm Church teaching that homosexual acts are a sin. ...Then there's really nothing to this apparently "big" story. But if you believe the headlines, you'd think that the Catholic Church, under Francis, was edging towards sponsoring the next gay pride march in Rome, while under Benedict, it was a mere hop, skip and a jump away from the Westboro Baptist loons.
Nothing fundamental has changed. Nothing fundamental will change. The media is, once again, making hay out of these off the cuff remarks of Pope Francis. I don't recall Pope Benedict calling for the persecution or marginalization of gays. Benedict upheld Church teaching. Francis upholds the same teaching.
When reports are written by non-Catholics, or by Catholics who don't understand Church teaching (about 95% of Catholics) you see stories like this. They are inflated, astroturf reports that claim some big shift or imminent change is on the way. Francis obviously speaks a bit differently than his predecessors on various subjects. He is more impromptu in style, less guarded, and likes to shoot the breeze. That said, the ever-feckless communications arm of the Vatican needs to be a lot quicker when it comes to issuing clarifications after the pope kibitzes with reporters. Such clarifications would help blunt some of the media's efforts to confuse the faithful with stories like this.