Who am I to judge gay people, says Pope

London, July 29 (IANS) "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him," said Pope Francis Monday, asking for gay people to be integrated into society.

On a flight from Brazil to Rome, the Pope reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church's position that homosexual acts were sinful, but homosexual orientation was not, BBC reported.

Francis also said he wanted a greater role for women in the Church, but insisted they could not be priests.

The Pope arrived back in Rome Monday after a week-long tour of Brazil -- his first abroad as pontiff.

Pope Francis's predecessor, Benedict XVI, signed a document in 2005 that said men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be priests.

Francis said gay clergymen should be forgiven and their sins forgotten.

The Pope, however, condemned what he described as lobbying by gay people.

"The problem is not having this orientation. We must be brothers. The problem is lobbying by this orientation, or lobbies of greedy people, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the worse problem," he said.

On the role of women in the Church, he said: "We cannot limit the role of women in the Church to altar girls or the president of a charity, there must be more. But with regards to the ordination of women, the Church has spoken and says no... That door is closed."

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