New Yorkers applaud as Pope sways from church doctrine on homosexuality

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“I just wish that the bishops would listen to him. The clergy. He’s giving them permission to be a welcoming loving church,” said Nicholas Coppola.

Nicholas Coppola knows all too well what it like to be excluded. He was once a Eucharistic minister among other things before Saint Anthony Roman Catholic Church in Oceanside Long Island relieved him of his duties after he married the love of his life, his husband. That was months ago.

Now, Coppola sees a a ray of hope and it’s coming all the way from the Vatican.

“The Pope himself is saying we need to welcome people and not turn people away,” said Coppola.

In a 12-thousand word interview making headlines, Pope Francis spoke out about homosexuality and church teaching.

He said the church cannot be obsessed with gay marriage, abortion or contraception.

“That we have to be open to everyone. We don’t condemn, right? Obviously, the Church also has an obligation to say what it believes in terms of doctrine, but we don’t start with that,” said Father Shea of Fordham University.

The Pope also said the Church has locked itself up in small things, small minded rules.

Father Shea, the Chaplain of Fordham University said Pope Francis just made a big statement that could have a major impact on the Catholic Church.

“He doesn’t feel he wants to judge individuals,” said Father Shea.

Cardinal Dolan also responded to the Holy Father’s words in a statement:

“In his interview in La Civiltà Cattolica, and America magazine, our Holy Father confirms what has been apparent during these first six months of his papacy: that he is a man who profoundly believes in the mercy of a loving God, and who wants to bring that message of mercy to the entire world, including those who feel that they have been wounded by the Church.  As a priest and bishop, I particularly welcome his reminder that the clergy are primarily to serve as shepherds, to be with our people, to walk with them, to be pastors, not bureaucrats!   It is becoming more evident every day that we are blessed with a Pope who is a good shepherd after the heart of Christ.”