Pope Francis on Gays: 'Who am I to Judge?'

In an impromptu news conference, Pope Francis shows compassion towards gays.
3:25 | 07/30/13

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Transcript for Pope Francis on Gays: 'Who am I to Judge?'
Pope's surprise comments about gay -- yet these remarks came during an impromptu news conference -- -- Francis was returning from Brazil ABC's -- So let me. Good morning guys and it really wasn't an usual scene among the aboard this up papal plane. For a while it -- that the Vatican was -- Pope Francis did what none before -- have done he stood in front of reporters for an hour and twenty minutes taking questions. And then he turned serious on an issue that's confronted many ahead of the divide in this church. -- Francis opened a new era of compassion toward gays on Monday saying -- shouldn't be judged or marginalized for their sexual orientation. As he flew back to Rome after celebrating world youth day in Brazil. The pope's words in Italian rippled around the world -- -- -- -- -- if someone is gay any searches for the lord and has goodwill. Who reminded judge those comments didn't change Catholic doctrine but signaled an olive branch from the people's vote. It was a different telling -- we've heard from the Vatican. That was very pastoral and compassion. The overture only narrowly addresses homosexuality. But still it was striking. His predecessor Benedict called gays objectively disordered. John Paul the second set homosexual acts were against natural law. Archbishops and bishops always take their lead from the Pope and the fact that the Pope is trying to be more welcoming I think is a great step forward it's an issue dividing American Catholics. As a Catholic -- CNN happy to hear an excellent thing that is being of -- open and some. Accepting of people from all different backgrounds and the plane opens. She doubled. Say it's. This is an abomination. The Pope also extending his hand to divorced Catholics saying they can receive sacraments. And women saying they are more important -- bishops and priests. -- church long beset by scandal the tone of humility from -- Francis is the latest sign that a new age may be dawning for the Catholic Church. An attempt to energize and fortify the faithful. -- Diana interest thing quite a different home -- hearing from -- Francis really it's it's remarkable change in tone. But not necessarily a change -- thought. John you're absolutely right that total is the significant thing here many post before him that not even use the word -- so that fact that Pope -- he called himself the people's vote. Really what those five words who -- -- a judge he set the tone of a -- a different type of style -- the church but you're absolutely right he would not address the core issues of homosexual acts being against. Be -- church's policy and doctor. So for not changing doctrine and we're not changing policy what exactly is Paul Francis trying to accomplish from the church here what do you want to -- trying to accomplish is -- to -- build on what he was doing in Brazil that world you've staked -- -- to some three million people he knows the church is in trouble in terms of a shrinking population he's trying to put. A new face on the church and Vatican experts say that this is very significant because what. -- -- Pope does from the trickles down field line here so this new change in substance and tone is likely to have. Quite a big effect and it is dividing the Catholics a lot of Catholics we talked to today said that you know. Some work in favor of this others were not so a controversy number one's going back to -- so -- -- reception he got there. No question about it some three million people on the beach has -- -- celebrating mass on on Copacabana -- not a bad place to be. Always -- let me thank you so much -- that and you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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