GENOA, Italy, March 7 (UPI) -- An outspoken LGBT rights advocate and Italian Catholic priest Don Andrea Gallo said the church needs a gay pope.
"A homosexual pope would be a magnificent thing. The essence of the Gospel is that we are all God's sons and daughters and we are all equal as God's children," Gallo said Wednesday.
The Italian news agency ANSA said Gallo is the founder of Genoa's drug rehab community, has defended the rights of gays and homosexuals and also smoked marijuana in city hall to protest against drug laws.
Gallo said the homosexual priest must be able to express himself and the Church must not repress him, ANSA reported.
"Because repression leads to pedophilia," Gallo said, adding that as a young priest he was sexually abused.
The comments come on the same day that a survey was released that indicates 75 percent of readers of an Asian Catholic website Ucanews.com believe pedophilia is the Catholic Church's largest problem, ANSA reported.