Archbishop Dolan: We can treat homosexuals "with dignity"


(CBS News) Pope Francis held a press conference that extended beyond an hour aboard his flight back to the Vatican on Monday and made unexpected comments signalling an openness to gay priests. The comments marked a dramatic departure from Pope Benedict XVI's views -- the former pope openly discouraged gay men from becoming priests.

"If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" Pope Francis told reporters. "They shouldn't be marginalized. ... They're our brothers"

Tuesday on "CBS This Morning,"Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, described the pontiff as "as calm and personable as could be" when he held court for on the plane.

Pope Francis articulated his views "in a beautifully tender way ... that while certain acts may be wrong ... we will always love and respect the person and treat the person with dignity," Dolan said.

Dolan emphasized that the pope's comments do not signal a change in church doctrine or Catholic ideology.

Dolan explained: "Pope Francis would be the first to say, 'My job isn't to change church teaching. My job is to present it as clearly as possible.'"

However, "it could be a change in tone or emphasis," Dolan said, explaining that thus far, the new papal leader has struck a "gentle, merciful, understanding, compassionate, tone. That may be something that people find new and refreshing."

"We've got ... two points of church teaching," Dolan said Tuesday. "One would be the immorality, in God's view, of any sexual expression outside of a man and woman in lifelong marriage. ...The other point of church teaching is that a person's identity, respect, the dignity and love that he or she deserves does not depend on anything -- sexual orientation, how much money we've got, if we've got a green card ... does not depend on anything other than the fact that we're a child of God, made in his image."

Turning to political events in his home state, Dolan addressed the ongoing sexting scandal surrounding New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. The cardinal admitted he has been watching closely as the controversy unfolds but said, "I ought to take a page from Pope Francis and say ... I don't want to judge anybody."

"I think redemption is always possible and always God's preference," he added.