Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT advocate, has applauded Pope Francis' comments stating that the Roman Catholic Church welcomes all.

In a wide-ranging interview released Thursday, Francis said that the church should stop “obsessing” over its rules about abortion, gay marriage and contraception.

“The church's pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently,” Francis said. “We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”

The pope also expanded on a previous comment that he does not judge gay clergy.

“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approve of homosexuality,” Francis said in the interview. “I replied with another question: 'Tell me: When God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?' We must always consider the person.”

(Related: Pope Francis says Catholic Church should welcome all, gays included.)

“With these latest comments, Pope Francis has pressed the reset button on the Roman Catholic Church’s treatment of LGBT people, rolling back a years-long campaign at the highest levels of the Church to oppose any measure of dignity or equality,” said Griffin in a blog post. “Now, it’s time for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to catch up and drop their opposition to even the most basic protections for LGBT people. Otherwise, they risk being left far behind by American Catholics and this remarkable pope.”

“For the sake of LGBT Catholics, it's essential that Pope Francis' inspiring words lead to transformative change throughout the church hierarchy,” he added.