Pope Francis says he won’t judge gay priests

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ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE — Pope Francis’s conciliatory remarks about gay priests were part of a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference that he conducted on his plane Monday as he returned from his first foreign trip.

The news conference was unprecedented as well as remarkable.

Pope John Paul II often walked to the back of the plane to chat with reporters, but he would move about the cabin, chatting with individuals so it was hit-or-miss to hear what he said. Benedict XVI had only brief contacts with reporters. But during his return flight from Brazil, Francis held forth for 80 minutes on subjects ranging from Vatican Bank troubles to the role of women in the church.

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