UK
30/07/2013 13:39 BST

Pope Francis' Gay Comments Played Down By Cardinal Timothy Dolan

The Pope's conciliatory tone towards homosexuals on Monday has already been played down by senior figures of the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, has insisted Pope Francis' remarks did not represent a change in tone or precede a change in doctrine.

Speaking to reporters aboard his plane returning from Brazil, Pope Francis said: "When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them?

cardinal timothy dolan

Cardinal Timothy Dolan

"They shouldn’t be marginalised. The tendency [towards homosexuality] is not the problem … they’re our brothers."

Dolan sought to clarify the comments in an interview with CBS This Morning.

He said: "Homosexuality is not a sin. Homosexual acts are.

"He’s articulating well…the traditional teaching of the church.

"In no way could this be interpreted as a change in church doctrine."

Pope's comments were distinctly different in tone to those of his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who tok a much harder line, though gay rights campaigners questioned their significance.