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Pope says Church open to LGBT people, but has rules

STORY: Pope Francis made fresh comments about the LGBT community’s place in the Catholic Church on Sunday.

During a Catholic youth summit in Portugal over the weekend, Francis said the Church was ‘open to everyone.’

Reporters later asked him on Sunday whether that was incoherent since some sacraments are barred to some people.

That seemed to refer to women being barred from becoming priests, and gay people not being allowed to marry.

Francis responded:

“The Church is open to everyone, then there are rules that regulate life within the church, and someone who is inside and follows the rules cannot administer sacraments, this to say it in a simplified way like you said. This does not mean it is closed, everyone meets God in their own way within the Church, and the Church is mother, and it guides everyone in their own way.”

The Church teaches that same-sex attraction is not sinful but same-sex acts are.

Since the start of his papacy, the 86-year-old pope has faced a delicate balance between appealing to more liberal believers without upsetting conservatives…

…including giving more high-ranking roles to women, who the Church teaches cannot become priests because Jesus chose only men as his apostles.

While he supports legislation that gives same-sex couples rights in areas like pensions, he has stopped short of changing teachings that urge chastity for those with same-sex attraction.

Francis’ comments came as he took questions during his customary freewheeling post-trip press conference, as he flew back to Rome from the youth festival in Portugal.