Pope and change? How Francis is building a more accessible Church

Updated
Pope Francis talks with journalists as he flies back Rome following his visit to Brazil July 29, 2013.
Pope Francis talks with journalists as he flies back Rome following his visit to Brazil July 29, 2013.
Luca Zennaro/Pool/Reuters

Pope Francis made headlines this weekend when he told reporters that if a priest is gay and seeks the Lord, “who am I to judge?”

On Tuesday, the Morning Joe panel weighed in on the shift and what it means for the future of the Church.

“I think this statement goes not only to gay priests in the Catholic Church, but a much larger world view that the pope is willing to express,” host Joe Scarborough said. “The statement ‘who am I to judge?’ is an unassailable statement, because it comes straight out of Matthew.”

The New York Times’ Jeremy Peters agreed, remarking that the pope’s wording hinted to a more accepting and open view than the pope conveyed.

“I found it so striking,” Peters added. “He used the word gay, the English word gay. He was speaking in Italian and that’s a word that even some of our own Supreme Court justices won’t use because…they get too squeamish about it and they use the word a lot of gay people consider to be pejorative which is homosexual.”

msnbc’s Thomas Roberts added that the move may help bring disenchanted Catholics back into the fold.

“LGBT people are born, Catholics are raised, there’s a distinction here,” Roberts said. “There are a growing number of disenfranchised Catholics refreshed by what Pope Francis has to say. Instead of the tightening grip we saw under Pope [Benedict XVI], you know, we’re seeing the wide embrace from Pope Frances who’s willing to talk about things.”

What do you think about the pope’s remarks? Watch the discussion below and tell us what you think in the comments!

Pope and change? How Francis is building a more accessible Church

Updated