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      Syracuse Bishop Robert Cunningham weighs in on Pope's comments on gays, abortion and birth control

      For the first time since The Pope's recent comments on gays, abortion and birth control, the leader of Roman Catholics in Central New York has weighed in. Bishop Robert Cunningham is the leader of the Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese. He was Friday's guest on The Talk Tonight on CBS 5 and NBC 3 News. Read the Pope's full interview here in English.

      Pope Francis says the Catholic Church must balance its teachings about abortion, gays and contraception with the greater need to make the church a merciful, welcoming place for all.

      In a lengthy interview with an Italian Jesuit magazine, Francis laments that the church has focused too much on what he calls "small-minded rules." He says, "The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you." He adds, "Then we can talk about everything else."

      Bishop Cunningham said, "The Holy Father is expounding on the ideas that are first and foremost in the church, that we must be loving to all people, and a focus on that is a good thing." On the issue of a greater role for women in the church, Bishop Cunningham said, "Women have such a strong history in the church doing so many of the social aspects that are its backbone - but the issue of priesthood is closed." Click on the video link below the headline of this story to watch the interview with Bishop Cunningham.