Pope Francis has said laws criminalizing homosexuality are “unjust”, calling homosexuality a sin for faithful Catholics – but not a crime.
“Being gay is not a crime,” Francis said in an interview this week with The Associated Press.
He noted that Catholic bishops around the world support laws criminalizing homosexuality and discriminating against LGBTQ people. He said leaders should “have a process of conversion” and opt for “tenderness, please, as God has done for each of us.”
“We are all children of God, and God loves us as we are and for the strength that each of us fights for our dignity,” Francis said.
The Pope said the Catholic Church should work to end laws criminalizing homosexuality.
About 67 countries and jurisdictions around the world criminalize same-sex sexual activity. In the United States, more than a dozen states still have anti-sodomy laws, although the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that these laws were unconstitutional.
Francis’ comments weren’t a full embrace of LGBTQ people. The church still calls homosexuality a sin.
“It’s not a crime. Yes, but it is a sin. Okay, but let’s first distinguish between a sin and a crime,” Francis said during the interview.
“It is also a sin to lack charity towards one another,” he added.
What has Pope Francis already said about LGBTQ rights?
Last year Francis called on parents everywhere never to condemn their children if they are gay.
- During a weekly general audience, he spoke of the biblical character Joseph.
- François spoke to parents “who see that their children have different sexual orientations, how they manage this and accompany their children and do not hide behind an attitude of condemnation”.
- “Never condemn a child”, he said
However, the Vatican in 2021 declared that the Catholic Church and its priests cannot bless same-sex unions, arguing that God “cannot bless sin”.
- “There is absolutely no reason to view same-sex unions as similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and the family,” said the Vatican’s office of orthodoxy, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith.
Francis has previously endorsed civil unions and called gay and transgender people children of God.
“Gay people have a right to be in a family. They are children of God,” Francis said in an interview for a 2020 documentary. his miserable life for that. What we need to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”
How were the pope’s comments received?
Francis’ comments this week were not a change in church teachings, but they were still welcomed by several LGBTQ groups.
Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, said “Francis’ historic statement should send a message to world leaders and millions of Catholics around the world: LGBTQ people deserve to live in a world without violence or condemnation, and more kindness and understanding”. .”
Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, an LGBTQ-centric Catholic group, said in a statement to USA TODAY that Francis’ statement “will help save lives and promote respect for LGBTQ+ people, especially in communities. areas where the law or social norms make victims of fear, hatred, violence and death.
“The pope reminds the church that how people treat each other in the social world is of far greater moral importance (than) what people can possibly do in the privacy of a bedroom,” says the press release.
Contributor: Orlando Mayorquin, USA TODAY; Associated press