Although his comments have set off a frenzied doctrinal search for answers, clarity, and stability.
At the Wall Street Journal, "Pope Signals Openness to Gay Priests: Pontiff's Comments Suggest Greater Acceptance of Homosexuality Among Clerics":
ROME — When Pope Francis said he wouldn't judge gay priests, he opened the door to a new era of reconciliation within the Roman Catholic Church, which has struggled for decades to confront the presence of homosexuality in its ministry.Continue reading.
The pontiff was traveling aboard a turbulent overnight flight to Rome from his first overseas trip—a journey marked by his plain-spoken appeals to Catholics to reground the church in grass-roots ministry—when he broached the delicate issue of how the Catholic hierarchy should respond to clerics who are gay, though not sexually active. In doing so, he departed from the posture that has long shaped papal thinking on gay priests.
"Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?" the pontiff told a news conference in response to a question. "You can't marginalize these people."
Pope Francis reaffirmed church teaching by referring to homosexual acts as a sin. But he wielded his formidable bully pulpit to shift the tone of how the church regards homosexual orientation at its highest ranks.
The pope returned to the Vatican from a weeklong visit to Brazil, where he was given a rock-star reception as an estimated three million people flocked to a Sunday Mass on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach.
Analysts said that show of support is likely to strengthen his hand as he confronts myriad challenges, including alleged corruption at the Vatican bank and the sexual-abuse crisis.
The pontiff said women couldn't be ordained as priests, because the issue had been definitively settled by Pope John Paul II. However, he said he wanted to develop a "theology of the woman," in order to expand and deepen their involvement in the life of the church.
I know some Catholics are in denial over this, but it is what it is. See Kathryn Jean Lopez, for example, "What the Pope Did and Didn’t Say on the Plane."