Archbishop of Detroit: Pope’s comments on gay people represent ‘no change’

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The Archbishop of Detroit has spoken out over excitement about Pope Francis’ seemingly progressive comments on homosexuality, arguing that the pontiff “didn’t say anything different” to established Catholic teaching.

Speaking to reporters during a plane journey back to the Vatican following his trip to Brazil, the Pope Francis said: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

Many analysts and commentators, among them Christine Quinn, the gay Catholic Democratic candidate who’s leading the field to become the next mayor of New York City, said the comments represented “enormous progress.”

However, Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit has argued that the Pope “didn’t say anything different” to established Catholic teaching, which states gay people who have sexual relationships should “repent and put their lives in order”.

“There’s no change” on the Catholic Church’s view on homosexuality, Archbishop Vigneron said. “He may have had his own Pope Francis way of putting it, different from maybe the way Pope Benedict would put it, but they’re saying the same things.

“The Pope presented the church’s Catholic teaching … endorsed it, and then called us to live up to it, especially to live up to assisting those who have challenges to keep the commandments, and to embrace them when they repent and put their lives in order.”

Archbishop Vigneron attracted protests earlier this year when he endorsed claims that Catholics who support same-sex marriage should not receive Holy Communion.

Around 20 people marched and prayed outside the archdiocese of Detroit’s Chancery building, protesting the comments and demanding that the church change its views against homosexuality.

The  Archbishop of New York also said that Pope Francis remains opposed to same-sex relationships.

He said: “Homosexuality is not a sin, homosexual acts are. Just like heterosexuality is not a sin, although heterosexual acts outside a marriage, lifelong, life-giving marriage between a man and a woman, that would be sinful.”