Pope Francis Says He Won’t Judge Gays

Pope Francis Says He Won't Judge GaysPope Francis has said gay people should not be marginalised but integrated into society.

‘Who am I to judge them?’

Speaking to reporters on a flight back from Brazil, he reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church’s position that homosexual acts were sinful, but homosexual orientation was not. He was responding to questions about whether there was a “gay lobby” in the Vatican.

“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge them?”

He also said he wanted a greater role for women in the Church, but insisted they could not be priests.

‘Less judgemental’

The Pope arrived back in Rome on Monday after a week-long tour of Brazil – his first trip abroad as pontiff – which climaxed with a huge gathering on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach for a world Catholic youth festival. Festival organisers estimated it attracted more than three million people.

His remarks on gay people are being seen as much less judgemental than his predecessor’s position on the issue. Pope Benedict XVI signed a document in 2005 that said men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be priests. But Pope Francis said gay clergymen should be forgiven and their sins forgotten.

Do you agree with Pope Francis’ statements? Do you think gays can become priests?

Source: BBC News

Image: Al Jazeera

Brazil President ‘Proud’ Of Protests

Brazil President 'Proud' Of ProtestsBrazilian President Dilma Rousseff has said she is proud of the tens of thousands of people who have taken to the streets to demand better education, schools and transport.

‘Calling for change’

“My government is listening to the voices calling for change,” said Ms Rousseff in her first comments since Monday night’s demonstrations.

Some 10,000 people gathered in Sao Paulo on Tuesday for a new protest. Scuffles broke out with police outside the office of Mayor Fernando Haddad. Demonstrations were also taking place in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais. The protests began with demands for bus fare hikes to be revoked. They have turned into a nationwide demonstration against bad governance.

“Brazil has woken up a stronger country,” said President Rousseff. “The size of yesterday’s marches is evidence of the strength of our democracy… It is good to see so many young people, and adults – the grandson, the father and the grandfather – together holding the Brazilian flag, singing our anthem and fighting for a better country,” said Ms Rousseff.

‘Largest since 1992′

She said her government had lifted “40 million people into the middle class” but more needed to be done to improve access to free health and education.

The demonstrations are Brazil’s largest since 1992, when people took to the streets to demand the impeachment of President Fernando Collor de Mello. The mayors of Cuiaba, Recife, Joao Pessoa and other cities have announced a reduction in bus fares in response to Monday’s protests.

The demonstrations gathered pace as Brazil hosts the Confederations Cup, a curtain-raiser event for next year’s football World Cup. Many complained of the huge amounts spent on construction for the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, which will be hosted by Rio de Janeiro.

What is your reaction to President Rousseff’s statement about the widespread protests in Brazil? Feel free to share your thoughts with us via the comment box below!

Source: BBC News

Image: News Americas