He was speaking to reporters on a flight back to Italy from Brazil on Monday.
"If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?" he said.
La Stampa said that Pope Francis was “at ease” with the reporters during an interview session that lasted one-and-a-half hours.
However, he discredited a report earlier this month about there being a gay prelate at the Vatican Bank, saying an investigation into the matter failed to uncover any truth.
On the topic of women priests, he said the Church had spoken and said “no”, but that they should not be limited to roles as altar girls or presidents of charities.
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He was returning from Brazil after a week-long visit.