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Pope Francis: Reach Out to 'Save the Lost'

Pope Francis: Reach Out to 'Save the Lost'

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Pope Francis delivered a homily in which he denounced having a 'narrow and prejudiced mentality,' entreated followers to 'truly accept the marginalized' and spoke of 'restoring everyone to God's family.'

On Sunday, Pope Francis delivered a homily in which he denounced having a "narrow and prejudiced mentality" and entreated followers to "truly accept the marginalized."

"Truly the Gospel of the marginalized is where our credibility is at stake, where it is found, and where it is revealed," the pontiff said during the Vatican City sermon at St. Peter's Basilica, Religion News Service reported.

The pope emphasized the importance of being open and welcoming, and he recounted a biblical story of Jesus healing a leper.

"For Jesus, what matters above all is reaching out to save those far off, healing the wounds of the sick, restoring everyone to God's family. And this is scandalous to some people!" he said.

"Jesus is not afraid of this kind of scandal. He does not think of the close-minded who are scandalized even by a work of healing, scandalized before any kind of openness, by any action outside of their mental and spiritual boxes, by any caress or sign of tenderness which does not fit into their usual thinking and their ritual purity."

Though his sermon mentioned acceptance, it also referenced "saving the lost." He wasn't explicitly talking about LGBT people, but his remarks could be interpreted as a version of "love the sinner, hate the sin."

The pope's language during the homily seems to echo his apparent efforts to make the Catholic church more welcoming to LGBT people--softening its tone if not its doctrine.

Pope Francis has a mixed record on LGBT issues. Many have hailed him for shifting the church's tone. At the same time, he's garnered criticism for a lack of policy changes -- not to mention some public comments he's made criticizing same-sex marriage and nontraditional families. The Vatican has also held a "traditional marriage" summit under his leadership.

Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of LGBT Catholic organization Dignity USA previously told The Advocate that it is a "complex question" whether the church's shift under Pope Francis has been all on the surface or whether he's catalyzing real change. She said that she sees the pope's focus on poverty as a positive move. But when it comes to families, she said, "We're still hearing some very right-wing rhetoric. I think it's a complex picture."

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