Pope Francis says homosexuality is not a crime it is

Pope Francis says homosexuality is not a crime, it is a sin

Pope Francis has campaigned for the decriminalization of homosexuality, saying the Catholic Church must abolish “unfair laws” that say otherwise. However, in an interview with the Associated Press published this Wednesday (25), the Pope reaffirmed the doctrinal position that treats homosexuality as a sin.

“Being gay is not a crime,” he said. “It’s not a crime. Yes, but it’s a sin. Okay, but first let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime.

In 2013, his first year at the head of the Catholic Church, Francis declared that he could not reject homosexuals who sought comfort in God. “Who am I to judge?” he said at the time. The speech filled LGBTQIA+ Catholics with the hope of being accepted unreservedly within the institution.

Eight years later, Francis gave the Vatican the green light to issue a policy for clergy not to bless samesex partnerships. “God cannot bless sin,” says the document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which formulates norms for believers in the world’s largest Christian movement.

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In the interview, Francis acknowledged that Catholic leaders in some parts of the world still support laws that criminalize homosexuality or discriminate against the LGBTQIA+ community. “These bishops need a conversion process,” the pope said, adding that such leaders must act with tenderness — “please, as God has done for each of us.”

At least 67 countries and territories criminalize samesex sexual activity, according to the Human Dignity Trust, a Londonbased organization that maps LGBT rights and challenges around the world. In 11 of these countries homosexuals can be sentenced to death. The pope called these laws “unjust” and said the church must work to end them. “We are all children of God and God loves us just as we are and for the strength with which everyone fights for our dignity.”

The Catholic Catechism refers to homosexuality as “acts of grave depravity”, described as “intrinsically disturbed”. “They contradict natural law. They seal the sexual act with the gift of life. They do not assume genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances should they be approved.”

However, the Church defends that homosexuals “are accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity” and says that “any evidence of unfair discrimination must be avoided”. Given that the “psychological genesis” of homosexuality is unclear, the Catholic norm advocates chastity for LGBTQIA+ people. “These people are called to do the will of God in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite the difficulties that they may encounter in their condition to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross,” says the Catechism.

As Church leader for 10 years, Francis has not changed the doctrinal guidelines in this regard. However, some of his lines are considered more, if not progressive, more welcoming to the LGBT community.

“Gay people have a right to be in a family. They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be cast out [dela] or be made unhappy because of it,” says the Pope in the 2020 documentary “Francesco”.

In the film, the Pope’s speech comes shortly after he reads a letter from a gay man who has adopted three children with his partner. In it, the man explains that he would like to go to mass in his parish with his partner and children, but was concerned that the children would be molested. According to the Vatican, the pope’s speech was taken out of context and constructed from his answers to two separate questions.

In January 2022, Francis appealed to parents not to judge their children for their sexual orientation. He spoke about the difficulties parents can face when raising children, citing the importance of “not hiding behind a judgmental attitude” towards LGBTQIA+ children.

At the time, he also argued that the church could and should support civil partnership laws, which aim to give samesex couples equal rights in areas such as access to health care and property sharing.

One of the main opponents of samesex marriage in the Catholic Church was Benedict XVI, Francis’ predecessor who died in December. In an authorized biography published in May 2020, he likened the practice to “the Antichrist.” “A century ago it would have been absurd to talk about samesex marriage. Today, anyone who opposes it is excluded from society,” he said. “Modern society formulates a creed in the Antichrist, who accepts excommunication from society if anyone opposes it.”

Health, pontificate after Benedict and resignation

The interview, released on Wednesday, was the first that Francis had conducted since the death of Benedict XVI.

“I could die tomorrow but it’s under control. I’m in good health,” said the 86yearold Pope. “I’m normal for my age.” However, Francisco revealed that the diverticular stenosis a narrowing of the colon causing abdominal pain, swelling and bowel changes that led him to the operating table in 2021 has returned. In the procedure, the Catholic leader had 33 centimeters of his colon removed.

Asked about the possibility that Benedict’s death made him more vulnerable to criticism from the more conservative wing of the church, the Argentine tried to decouple the papal crisis from the German one and returned to the praise of his predecessor. “I lost a father. For me he was a security guard. When in doubt, I asked for a car, went to the monastery and asked. I lost a good companion.”

Francisco called the cohabitation model he lived in with Bento a “good interim solution,” if not ideal. “Him [Bento] he was still ‘enslaved’ as pope, wasn’t he?”

The Argentine also ruled out abdicating by saying that he would live as bishop emeritus of Rome if he gave up his position in the church. “It never occurred to me to write a will,” he said.