‘‘I have never been a right-winger. It was my authoritarian way of making decisions that created problems,’’ he said.
Two months ago, Francis caused a sensation during a news conference when he was asked about gay priests. ‘‘Who am I to judge?’’ about the sexual orientation of priests, as long as they are searching for God and have good will, he responded.
Francis noted in the latest interview that he had merely repeated church teaching during that press conference (though he again neglected to repeat church teaching that says while homosexuals should be treated with dignity and respect, homosexual acts are ‘‘intrinsically disordered.")
But he continued: ‘‘A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’
‘‘We must always consider the person. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing.’’
The key, he said, is for the church to welcome, not exclude and show mercy, not condemnation.
‘‘This church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people. We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity,’’ he said.
Religion Writer Rachel Zoll reported from New York.