WOODBURY - Pope Francis surprised many today when he said he won’t judge gay priests.

During a flight home from Brazil, Pope Francis told reporters it's not up to him to judge priests or anyone else for their sexual orientation.

"If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" he asked.

Nicholas Cappola, co-founder of Long Island Gay and Lesbian Catholics, says he hopes action will follow the pontiff's words. Cappola was dismissed from his volunteer position at St. Anthony's Church in Oceanside earlier this year for being gay.

David Kilmnick, executive director of Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth, says he doesn't see the pope's comments as progress because he says the pope is still calling homosexuality a sin.

"Any level of homophobia is just as bad," Kilmnick says.