Pope Francis Calls Laws Criminalising LGBTQ People A ‘Sin’, Receives Support From Christian Leaders

Pope Francis Calls Laws Criminalising LGBTQ People A 'Sin', Receives Support From Christian Leaders

Pope Francis Deems Laws Criminalising LGBTQ A ‘Sin’

Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, has condemned laws criminalising LGBTQ people.

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press (AP) in January, he said that the laws were “unjust”.

Furthermore, he also emphasised how the Church should fight against and abolish such laws.

Then, two weeks later, he emphasised that criminalising those with homosexual tendencies is an “injustice”.

Pope Francis criticises anti-LGBTQ laws

On 24 Jan, Pope Francis criticised laws criminalising homosexuality during his interview with The AP.

During the interview, he acknowledged that some Catholic bishops support laws that criminalise homosexuality or discriminate against the LGBTQ community.

He linked these attitudes to cultural backgrounds, adding that bishops need to undergo “a process of conversion” to recognise “the dignity of everyone”.

According to The AP, he is the first pope to make such statements regarding the laws, which gay rights activists have also praised as a milestone.

Furthermore, these comments also align with Pope Francis’ approach to the LGBTQ community. He believes that the Catholic Church should be inclusive and without discrimination.

However, he clarified that while homosexuality is not a crime, it is still a sin.

But first, let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime. It’s also a sin to lack charity with one another.

Pope Francis declares laws “an injustice”

On Sunday (5 Feb), the pope reiterated his stance while addressing the media aboard the papal plane returning from Africa.

Source: Vatican News on Facebook

“The criminalisation of homosexuality is a problem that cannot be ignored,” Reuters quotes him as saying.

The pope had cited unnamed statistics stating that 50 countries criminalise LGBTQ people “in one way or another”. 10 have laws including the death penalty.

“This is not right,” he said. “Persons with homosexual tendencies are children of God. God loves them. God accompanies them.”

Condemning a person like this is a sin. Criminalising people with homosexual tendencies is an injustice.

The pope also noted that the Catholic Church’s teachings state that same-sex attraction is not a sin, only homosexual acts.

It also states that LGBT people should not face discrimination.

Receives support from Christian leaders

Pope Francis’ comments received support from other Christian leaders who were also on the plane and took part in the news conference with him.

“I entirely agree with every word he said there,” said Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who pointed out that the Anglican community was also divided over gay rights.

Source: Vatican News on Facebook

Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland Iain Greenshields also affirmed his support for the pope, saying, “There is nowhere in my reading of the four Gospels where I see Jesus turning anyone away.”

“There is nowhere in the four Gospels that I see anything other than Jesus expressing love to whoever he meets and as Christians that is the only expression that we can give to any human being in any circumstance,” he added.

Still criticised by the community

Despite his approach to the LGBTQ community, the pope stated that the Catholic Church still cannot allow the sacramental marriage of same-sex couples, BBC reports.

That said, he voiced his support for supported so-called civil union legislation.

The gay Catholic community previously criticised Pope Francis for a 2021 decree from the Vatican’s doctrine office stating that the Church cannot bless same-sex unions.

In 2008, the Vatican declined to sign a United Nations (UN) declaration decriminalising homosexuality, claiming that the text went beyond the original scope.

However, the Vatican did urge countries to avoid “unjust discrimination” against gay people and abolish any penalties against them.

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Featured image adapted from Vatican News on Facebook.

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