AVE MARIA, FLA - Pope Francis broke new ground Monday after a controversial comment during a news conference.
The Pope said he will not judge homosexuals, including gay priests.
Residents of Ave Maria reacted Monday. Susan Waldstein says, "I'm ready to be surprised by him everyday. He's a new Pope, a new person and certainly seems to want to convey Christ's message of love and mercy.
Waldstein says the Pope's comments about gay clergy members and homosexuals are his way of reaching out to love everyone, but she's also not reading too much into the comments.
"I don't think he is signaling a change in the churches teaching about homosexuality but maybe change in saying we want to try to be more understanding."
"Nothing has changed," says Bill Dunstan of Ave Maria. "everyone grabs a hold of it and interprets it different."
Frank Dewane, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Venice sent WINK News the following statement:
"The Catholic Church is open to all people, homosexual or heterosexual, and has always taught that is not our role to judge. At the same time, the Church also believes sexual activity belongs within the context of marriage of a man and a woman."