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KIMT News 3 – Only a few days before Minnesota celebrates a landmark day in civil rights history, Pope Francis opens up about gays and lesbians in his congregation.
Speaking on a plane during his return trip from World Youth Day in Brazil, Pope Francis told reporters, that “if someone is gay and he searches for the lord and has good will, “who am I to judge?”
He reiterated church teaching that homosexual acts are a sin, but gay people should be part of society.
As one local church leader explains, it’s comment’s like these that can harbor inclusion in any church.
“To be able to honor people in their story. Walk with them and know that they are part of the family and whatever we can do to make people included into this human family. Then into this family of God, that’s what we’re called to do,” said Shari Mason of Austin.
Shari is the Pastor for the First Congregational Church in Austin and says she knows how significant it is to have leaders speak on such a controversial subject.
“Any time the Church can do something to make it right and to let all people know that they are welcome and to affirm where they are in their journey, whatever that may be, It’s a good work of Jesus and all the other great spiritual leaders that have taught us about being and covered and affirming it,” said Mason.
This is a much different tone than the one set by Pope Francis’ predecessor, Pope Benedict, who signed a document in 2005 saying men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be priests.
Thursday marks the first day that same-sex couples will legally be able to marry in Minnesota, after the bill signed this spring by Gov. Mark Dayton.