Pope Francis says he won't judge gay priests for their sexual orientation or marginalize gays within the Catholic Church.
"When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn't be marginalized," he told reporters Monday in Brazil.
"The tendency (to homosexuality) is not the problem ... they're our brothers," he said.
His predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, signed a document that said men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be priests.
But Pope Francis said God not only forgives those that sin and confess, He forgets.
"We don't have the right to not forget," he said.
The pope's comments came in response to reports that an aide was involved in a homosexual fling 10 years earlier, allegations the pontiff said he found to be baseless.