VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis denounces laws criminalizing homosexuality as ‘unjust’, says God loves all children as they are, and calls out Catholic bishops who support the law to denounce LGBTQ of people to come to church.
“It’s not a crime to be gay,” Francis said in an interview with the Associated Press on Tuesday.
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, and apply “please, kindness, as God has given to each one of us.” Added.
According to the Human Dignity Trust, which is working to end such laws, about 67 countries or jurisdictions around the world criminalize consensual same-sex sex, 11 of which impose the death penalty. Can or imposes. Experts say that even in areas where the law is not enforced, it fosters harassment, stigma and violence against LGBTQ people.
In the United States, more than a dozen states still have anti-sodomy laws, even though a 2003 Supreme Court ruling declared homosexuality unconstitutional. Gay rights advocates have argued that outdated laws are being used to harass gays, with evidence such as Florida’s “don’t say gay” law. pointing out new laws. 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. “We have to do this. We have to do this,” 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. They reaffirmed their “opposition to all human dignity and all forms of violence”.
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.
Starting with his famous 2013 declaration: Francis has repeatedly served the gay and trans community publicly when asked about the allegedly gay priest. Instead, he advocated giving legal protection to same-sex couples.
Despite such efforts, Francis was criticized by the Catholic LGBTQ community for a 2021 decree from the Vatican’s doctrinal office that the church could not bless same-sex couples because “God cannot bless sin.” rice field.
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.” In a statement at the time, the Vatican called on states to avoid “unfair discrimination” against homosexuals and to abolish penalties against them.