Cardinal George: Pope`s comments on gays `nothing new` - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Cardinal George: Pope`s comments on gays `nothing new`

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

On the plane back to the Vatican from his historic visit to Brazil, the pope talked about homosexuality and the role of women in the church.

The pontiff called for a bigger role for women and said it's not his place to judge faithful Catholic priests who are gay.

SEE: Pope Francis says he won't judge gay priests

The cardinal said Pope Francis has changed nothing about church teaching. He wrote a few weeks ago that marriage is a "stable union between a man and woman," but the Cardinal--who's fought a series of political battles over gay issues--did marvel at the Pontiff's new tone when FOX 32's Mike Flannery talked to him Monday night.

"He's an interesting man, isn't he, the way he speaks?" Cardinal George said. "He's enthusiastic and you can tell that the kindness of his heart -- and that's always nice to hear. But I read the remarks and they're straight Catholic theology and Catholic pastoral practice."

Cardinal George spoke to reporters a few minutes before greeting participants in Monday night's anti-violence march and subsequent prayers at St. Benedict the African parish on 66th Street.

On the North Side, meanwhile, a man who said the Cardinal declined to give him communion three weeks ago because he's publicly identified himself as actively gay in the Rainbow Sash group, was ecstatic about Pope Francis.

"Francis is getting into the messiness of life," Executive Director of Rainbow Sash, Joe Murray says. "He's getting out there. He's pushing his bishops to wake up and get closer to the people."

"I don't want to second-guess some of the comments of the Holy Father. But I would say [gay activists] are really doing some second-guessing," Paul Caprio says.

Paul Caprio's Family PAC is a strong supporter of Cardinal George and others in the battle in Springfield to block Gay Marriage from becoming law. He applauded a strongly worded letter the Cardinal released Monday expressing how deeply offended he was by an open letter in newspapers from gay marriage supporters. They blasted the Cardinal for threatening to remove church funding from immigrant reform groups that have jumped into the gay marriage debate.

The Cardinal responded with strong words of his own: "it is intellectually and morally dishonest to use the witness of the church's concern for the poor as an excuse to attack the church's teaching on the nature of marriage.

Then, perhaps even more strongly: "Jesus is merciful, but he is not stupid. He knows the difference between right and wrong. Manipulating both immigrants and the church for political advantage is wrong."

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