In a new interview released on Wednesday, Pope Francis reaffirmed that homosexuality is “not a crime.”
The Associated Press interview covered a broad variety of subjects, including laws that make homosexuality and sodomy crimes.
“It is not illegal to be gay. It is not illegal. Sure, but it’s sinful. The pope told the AP, “Fine, but let’s first differentiate between a sin and a crime.
The comment is sure to stir up some debate. On the one hand, the Catholic Church has long denounced all types of unfair discrimination against those who have a same-sex desire, including the laws that outlaw homosexuality and sodomy in dozens of nations. However, the Church does not advocate that same-sex desire is inherently wrong.
Pope Francis restated the Holy See’s stance that laws that explicitly prohibit homosexuality are “unjust” and that the Church must seek to remove them in the interview recorded at his home in Vatican City on January 24.
The Vatican made a statement in 2008 under Benedict XVI asking nations to “do away with criminal sanctions against them” and to “avoid any trace of unjust discrimination against gay individuals.”
According to Pope Francis, “We are all children of God, and God loves us for the strength that each of us battles for our dignity.”
Bishops who support laws that penalize homosexuality, the pope told the Associated Press, “have to go through a process of conversion” and should show “tenderness, mercy, as God has for each and every one of us.”
In order to acknowledge the dignity of everyone, Francis stated bishops in particular need to go through a process of conversion. He linked such views to cultural origins.
Every man and woman needs to have a place in their life where they may express their optimism and where they can recognize God’s dignity. Additionally, being gay is not a crime. It is a part of being human, he continued.
Pope Francis also criticized the German Synodal Way in the interview, which lasted more than an hour, said that the intestinal issue for which he had surgery in 2021 has reappeared, and denied any involvement in the management of the alleged abuse by Jesuit Father Marko Rupnik.
The complete text of the conversation in Spanish was released by the AP after the pope’s remarks about separating homosexuality into crimes and sins were first made public.
The Catholic Church does not hold that being attracted to someone of the same sex, or homosexuality, is sinful.
The Catholic Church’s Catechism states that homosexual activities “under no circumstances may be permitted” since they are “intrinsically evil.”
“There are both men and women who have strong gay urges; the number is not insignificant. For the majority of them, this clearly abnormal disposition is a challenge. They must be welcomed with decency, empathy, and tact. It states that any indication of unfair prejudice in their favor should be avoided.
“These individuals are asked to carry out God’s purpose in their life and, if they practice Christianity, to join the struggles they may experience due to their situation to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross. The command to chastity is extended to homosexuals. They can and should steadily and persistently progress toward Christian perfection by practicing the qualities of self-mastery that help them find inner freedom, at times with the assistance of disinterested friendship, through prayer, and with the help of sacramental grace.
Pope Francis authorized the Vatican’s doctrinal authority to clarify in 2021 that the Church cannot approve of same-sex relationships because “God cannot bless sin.”
At the time, the Vatican said, “The Christian community and its Pastors are called to welcome with respect and compassion those with homosexual tendencies and will know how to discover the most suitable means, consistent with Church doctrine, to proclaim to them the Gospel in its fullness.”
Pope Francis used the conclusion of the popular opera “The Prodigal Son” as an illustration of how “God is generous in his charity” in answer to a query concerning laws that criminalize homosexuality.
The pope said, “If we preached more about it and less about rubbish, we would be better off.