Openly gay Syracuse priest encouraged by new comments from Pope Francis
The sign on All Saints Church near Syracuse University says "All Are Welcome." Pastor Fred Daley encourages anyone to attend the Roman Catholic services - even as the Vatican made him feel unwelcome. Daley is an openly gay priest and says it was hard for him to hear Pope Benedict call homosexuality a disorder. Daley believes Pope Francis's statement expressing acceptance of gay priests is a huge step forward for the church and meant a lot to him.
"These statements by the Pope are helping the church - in a beautiful way - be a church that is on the cutting edge of liberating people and not oppressing them," said Daley.
Speaking with reporters, Pope Francis said homosexual acts are a sin, but "if a person is gay and seeks god and good will, who am I to judge?"
His comments mark a dramatic shift for the Catholic Church. As she walked by the cathedral in downtown Syracuse, Natalie Glenn said she supported the change.
"I think it's a sign of acceptance and I think that's beautiful," said Glenn.
Father Daley says he is encouraged by Pope Francis' support but also knows it will be a long journey to completely end discrimination.
"The fact that it is news says a lot about that we have a ways to go to be able see everyone as a child of god and as a brother and sister."