“His comments only further reflect his desire to reach out to all Catholics and individuals who are marginalized,” said [Marcus] Cox, a history professor and associate dean at The Citadel. “His unassuming leadership style and his message of love and tolerance gives him the ability to connect with individuals seeking a place in the Catholic church.”
Francis might have struck a more conciliatory tone for some, but he surely did not suggest that noncelibate gays and lesbians should escape the church’s judgment, said Warren Redman-Gress, executive director of Alliance for Full Acceptance, a Charleston-based gay-rights advocacy group.
“Pope Francis’ recent ”˜Who am I to judge?’ remark regarding gay clergy has been called an ”˜outstretched hand’ and a shift toward greater understanding,” wrote Redman-Gress in an email. “I don’t believe it is either. When a person, even a pope, uses the ”˜who am I to judge?’ phrase, he is saying, ”˜I won’t judge because I am a sinner as well; I am going to leave the judgment of that person’s sexual orientation to God.’ ”
But this implies that a sexually active gay person nevertheless is subject to God’s reckoning (and, by extention, the church’s), Redman-Gress wrote.