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Gazette Premium Content Colorado Springs officials say pope's remarks about gays reinforce church's teachings

The Gazette - Updated: July 30, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Much attention worldwide has been given to Pope Francis' remark: "Who am I to judge?"

Here are some comments from local officials about his remarks about homosexuality, made during an impromptu news conference aboard the papal plane:

Bishop Michael Sheridan, Diocese of Colorado Springs:

This has been the position of the church all along. The way I read his remarks is that a priest can be homosexual and a priest if he leads a holy and chaste life. It doesn't put a moral value on being homosexual, any more than it says heterosexuals are good or evil. It is what you are. But if a heterosexual acts outside a marriage, that is wrong. The pope is distinguishing between the person and the act.

He is reiterating the documents of the church regarding the dignity of every human being. The church has issued several documents regarding ministry to homosexual persons and consistently has said every person possesses inherent dignity.

Charles Irwin, executive director of Colorado Springs Pride Center:

I'm glad that someone in his position is saying that those who are LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender) shouldn't be marginalized. But the proof will be in the pudding. I will wait and see if it is backed up with action, such as same-sex marriage equality and full sanction of gay priests. I want to see equality. He said women should be given a bigger role in the church, but that they are still being kept from the priesthood. That's not equality.

Karna Swanson, director of communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Denver:

I think the important part of the message is to understand that the clear teachings of the church says that homosexual inclination is not sinful and that the church has always expected priests to live lives of celibate chastity. What the pope said does not contradict that at all. He is underlining that every person who has an inclination, if they are eagerly seeking God and seeking to live according to the teachings of the church, then he is on a good path.

Carol McGraw, The Gazette

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