Cardinal Timothy Dolan appeared to be trying to walk back recent comments by Pope Francis regarding gay priests in a CBS News interview Tuesday morning, explaining to hosts Gayle King and Charlie Rose that the pontiff’s refusal to judge them did not signal a change in Catholic Church doctrine.
What the pope was saying, Dolan told Rose, was that, “While certain acts may be wrong, we will always love and respect the person and treat the person with dignity,” describing an intersection between church doctrine regarding the “immorality” of sex outside marriage and acceptance of believers regardless of sexual orientation or other social factors.
On Monday, the pope told reporters during a flight out of Brazil that gay members of the church must not be marginalized, saying, “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?”
Dolan, who was criticized earlier this year for sermons focusing on “traditional marriage” amid an increase in anti-LGBT attacks in the New York area, emphasized throughout the discussion that Pope Francis was striking a new tone in his presentation of the church’s teachings.
“What would it take for the Church to change its attitude about homosexuality being a sin?” Rose asked Dolan.
“That probably is not possible,” Dolan answered, before telling Rose he expressed the sentiment incorrectly. “Homosexuality is not a sin. Homosexual acts are. Just like heterosexuality is not a sin, although heterosexual acts outside of marriage — life-loving, life-giving faith between a man and a woman — that would be simple. A pope couldn’t do that.”
Watch the interview, aired on Tuesday by CBS, below.