The AP Interview: Pope Francis: Homosexuality not a crime

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VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis denounces laws criminalizing homosexuality as “unjust” and says God loves all children as they are, urging Catholic bishops who support the law to LGBTQ of people to come to church.

“Homosexuality is not a crime” Francis said in the meantime interview on tuesday with the Associated Press.

Francis acknowledged that Catholic bishops in some parts of the world support laws that criminalize homosexuality and discriminate against the LGBTQ community, and he himself refers to the issue as “sin.” Did. However, he believes that such attitudes lie in the cultural background, and bishops in particular said that they need to go through a process of change in order to recognize the dignity of all people.

“These bishops must go through a process of conversion,” he said, adding that they should apply “please, kindness, as God has given each one of us.” .

According to The Human Dignity Trust, about 67 countries or jurisdictions around the world criminalize consensual same-sex sexual activity, and 11 of them can or cannot impose the death penalty. are doing. Experts say it fosters harassment, stigma and violence against LGBTQ people, even in areas where the law is not enforced.

In the United States, more than ten states have enacted anti-sodomy laws despite a 2003 Supreme Court ruling declaring them unconstitutional. Gay rights advocates say outdated laws are being used to harass gays Florida’s ‘Don’t Say You’re Gay’ LawThis bans education on sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through third grade as evidence of ongoing efforts to marginalize LGBTQ people.

The United Nations has repeatedly called for the abolition of laws that outright criminalize homosexuality, which violates the right to privacy and freedom from discrimination, and protects the human rights of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation. It is in violation of a country’s obligations under international law. Or gender identity.

Declaring such laws “unjust”, Francis said the Catholic Church could and should put an end to them. There is,’ he said.

Francis quotes the Catechism of the Catholic Church that homosexuals must be welcomed and respected, and not left out or discriminated against.

“We are all children of God. He loves us for who we are and loves each of us for our strength to fight for our dignity.”

Such laws are common in Africa and the Middle East, dating back to British colonial times or inspired by Islamic law. They strongly support them as being consistent with what they regard as Vatican teachings, and other bishops call them overruled as a violation of basic human dignity.

In 2019, Francis was expected to issue a statement against the criminalization of homosexuality.

In the end, the Pope did not meet with the group, but with the Second Vatican instead.

On Tuesday, Francis said there needs to be a distinction between crime and sin when it comes to homosexuality.

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

“It is also a sin to be unkind to one another,” he added.

Catholic teachings say that homosexuals must be treated with respect, but that homosexuality is “intrinsically disorderly.” Francis hasn’t changed his teachings, but he’s made it a Pope’s hallmark to reach out to the LGBTQ community.

starts with his famous 2013 declarationFrancis has repeatedly publicly served the gay and transgender community when asked about an allegedly gay priest. As archbishop, he advocated giving legal protection to same-sex couples instead of supporting gay marriage, which is prohibited by Catholic doctrine.

Despite such efforts, Francis has been criticized by the Catholic LGBTQ community for the 2021 decree from the Vatican’s doctrinal office that the church cannot bless same-sex couples because “God cannot bless sin.” criticized.

In 2008, the Vatican refused to sign a UN declaration calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality, finding the document to be problematic because it went beyond its original scope of language on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” also claimed to contain In a statement at the time, the Vatican called on states to avoid “unfair discrimination” against homosexuals and to abolish penalties against them.

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