Excerpts from pope’s first news conference

ABOARD THE PAPAL AIRCRAFT (AP) — Pope Francis gave a wide-ranging news conference on his trip back to Rome from Brazil, candidly responding to some of the touchiest issues facing the Vatican during an hour and 22-minute long chat with reporters. Here are highlights.

HE WON’T JUDGE PRIESTS FOR THEIR SEXUAL ORIENTATION: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

HE BENDS TO HIS BODYGUARDS ON PAPAL SECURITY: “I’d like to walk in the streets. But I know it’s impossible.”

NO IMMINENT TRIP TO HIS NATIVE ARGENTINA SINCE HE’S JUST RETURNED FROM BRAZIL: “A Latin American pope, his first trip to Latin America? Arrivederci.”

CHURCH SHOULD BUILD BIGGER ROLE FOR WOMEN — THOUGH NOT AS PRIESTS: “We must go farther in the explicitness of the role and charisma of women living in the church.”

THAT MYSTERIOUS BLACK BAG HE CARRIED ONTO THE PLANE HELD ONLY HIS RAZOR AND BOOKS: “The keys to the atomic bomb weren’t in it.”

HE’S TIRED AND HE HURT HIS SCIATIC NERVE USING A BAD CHAIR IN HIS FIRST MONTH AS POPE: “It was so painful. So painful! I wouldn’t wish it in anyone.”

HE LIKES HIS ADVISERS TO CHALLENGE HIM: “I like it when someone tells me ‘I don’t agree.’ This is a true collaborator. When they say ‘Oh, how great, how great, how great,’” that’s not useful.

HE LOVES RETIRED POPE BENEDICT XVI LIKE A GRANDFATHER: “The last time there were two or three popes, they didn’t talk among themselves and they fought over who was the true pope!” Having Benedict living in the Vatican “is like having a grandfather — a wise grandfather — living at home.”

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