July 29 - Pope Francis, in some of the most conciliatory words from any pontiff on gays, said they should not be judged; as he upholds ban on women priests. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
After departing Brazil Pope Francis boarded a plane to return to the Vatican where he offered his thoughts on gays and closed the door on the ordination of women. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) POPE FRANCIS SAYING: "Everyone writes about the gay lobby, I still haven't found anyone who gives me an identity card in the Vatican with gay written on it. They say that there are these people. I think when someone finds themselves with a person like this, they need to make a distinction between being a gay person and that of being part of a lobby. All lobbies are not good, that is the bad thing. If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?" In a broad-ranging 80-minute conversation with journalists on the plane he also spoke about the role of women in the Catholic Church (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) POPE FRANCIS SAYING: "If she is an altar girl, president of charity works or teacher of catechism they need to be more, really much more even mystically more as I said with a new theology. In reference to the ordination of women the church has spoken and said no. John Paul II said this. This door is closed. But on this I want to say something. I have said it but I repeat it: the Madonna, Maria was more important than the apostles, bishops, deacons and priests. Women, in the church, are more important than bishops and priests, I think we are missing a theological explanation on this." The Pope's week-long tour of Brazil has been hailed as a success, with the Pope drawing more than 3 million people for a mass on Rio's Copacabana beach.