Pope Francis criticized laws that criminalize homosexuality as “unjust” — while still maintaining that being gay is “a sin.”
“Being homosexual isn’t a crime,” Francis said Tuesday during an interview at the Vatican hotel where he lives.
“It’s not a crime. Yes … it’s a sin. Fine, but first let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime,” the 86-year-old pontiff said of Catholic teaching that holds that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.”
“It’s also a sin to lack charity with one another,” he stressed.
Some 67 countries or jurisdictions worldwide criminalize consensual same-sex sexual activity, 11 of which can or do impose the death penalty, according to The Human Dignity Trust, which works to end such laws.
More than a dozen US states still have anti-sodomy laws, despite a 2003 Supreme Court ruling declaring them unconstitutional.
Declaring such laws “unjust,” Francis said the Catholic Church can and should work to put an end to them. “It must do this. It must do this,” he said.
The pontiff acknowledged that Catholic bishops in some parts of the world support laws that criminalize homosexuality or discriminate against the LGBTQ community.
“These bishops have to have a process of conversion,” he said, adding that they should apply “tenderness, please, as God has for each one of us.”
He quoted the Catechism of the Catholic Church in saying gay people must be welcomed and respected, and should not be marginalized or discriminated against.
“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,” he said.
Francis has made reaching out to the LGBTQ community a hallmark of his papacy, starting with his famous 2013 declaration, “Who am I to judge?” when asked about a purportedly gay priest.
Still, he has not changed his stance on the teaching that declares homosexual acts “intrinsically disordered,” and he was criticized for a 2021 decree that the church cannot bless same-sex unions “because God cannot bless sin.”
With Post wires