Pope Francis said that laws that criminalize LGBT people are a sin and an injustice

Pope Francis speaks to the media on board the plane that took him back from South Sudan to Italy. February 5, 2023. Tiziana Fabi/pool via Reuters (Pool/)

Pope Francis said on Sunday that laws that criminalize LGBT people are a sin and an injustice because God loves and accompanies people with same-sex attraction.

Francis, who made the remarks in response to a question from a journalist aboard the plane returning from a trip to two African countries, received full backing for his comments from two other Christian leaders who were traveling with him on the plane.

Francis repeated that the Catholic Church cannot allow the sacramental marriage of same-sex couples, but that supports so-called civil union legislation that gives same-sex couples legal protection on issues such as pensions, inheritance and healthcare.

“The criminalization of homosexuality is a problem that cannot be ignored”said Francis, who went on to cite unidentified statistics according to which 50 countries criminalize LGBT people “in one way or another” and about 10 more have laws that include the death penalty for them.

A total of 66 UN member states continue to criminalize consensual same-sex sexual relations, according to data from ILGA World, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. In several countries where same-sex relationships are illegal, punishments can include the death penalty.

“This is not OK. People with homosexual tendencies are children of God. God loves you. God accompanies them (…) condemning such a person is a sin. Criminalizing people with homosexual tendencies is an injustice,” he stated.

gay flag germany church
Gay flag near a German church. PA

As he highlighted, the catechism of the catholic church, or book of teachings, says that same-sex attraction is not a sin, but homosexual acts are. It also ensures that LGBT people should not be marginalized.

Francis traveled to South Sudan, the second country on the tour, as a peace pilgrimage with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welbyand the moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields.

Both Christian leaders were traveling on the return plane and participated in the Pope’s usual press conference with journalists. Both praised his comments.

“I totally agree with every single one of his words,” Welby said, noting that the Anglican communion itself is divided on gay rights and that two resolutions against the criminalization of LGBT people “have not changed the minds of a lot of people.” people”.

Welby added: “I will certainly quote the Holy Father. He has said it very beautifully and precisely ”.

Expressing his own support for Francis, Greenshields referred to the Bible, saying: “In my reading of the four Gospels I do not see that Jesus rejects anyone. Nowhere in the four Gospels do I see anything other than Jesus expressing love to whomever he meets and as Christians that is the only expression we can give to any human being in any circumstance.”

With information from Reuters

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