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City Catholics Respond To Pope's Recent Comments On Abortion, Gay Rights

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On the first Sunday since Pope Francis' headline-making interview, where the pontiff publicly addressed abortion and gay rights, some Catholics at Saint Patrick's Cathedral shared their reactions. NY1's Arlene Bornstein filed the following report.

At Saint Patrick's Cathedral on Sunday, there were pews packed of people praying.

The church appeared seemingly unchanged, despite recent calls by Pope Francis asking leaders of the Catholic Church to exercise more compassion when it comes to subjects such as homosexuality and abortion.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York agreed with the Pope, despite his own long-fought stance against the issues.

"What he is saying is, we got to think of a better way to do it, because if the church comes off as a scold, it's counterproductive," Archbishop Dolan said.

Pope Francis didn't hold back during an interview published around the world Thursday.

He said the church has become "obsessed" with social issues, such as contraception and gay marriage.

"The people of God want pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials," he said in the interview.

"They don't always want to hear about issues from the pulpit. They want to hear about God and Jesus," said Archbishop Dolan.

Others outside the cathedral say politics and religion shouldn't mix.

"If a woman chooses to have an abortion, two couples get together and feel that they want to do that, that's their choice. Then the church has no say about that, because in America, we have a separation of church and state," said one New Yorker.

Controversial or not, the Pope has made strides winning the adoration of Catholics around the world, many of them young people.

"I think Pope Francis is the man," said one New Yorker.

Young Catholics say the Pope's stance on social issues is important them.

"He welcomed the gay community and doesn't discriminate against them, because God doesn't judge," said one New Yorker.

"Abortion is such a tragedy against children and women, and I'm thankful he defends all life and all persons," said another New Yorker.

Tradition, however, lives on.

A day after Thursday's interview, the Pope spoke out against abortions, defending the rights of the unborn.

His pastoral strategy, as Archbishop Dolan described, is to hate the sin, but love the sinner.

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