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Distinguish between sin and crime, says Pope on homosexuality

Pope Francis

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA | I.MEDIA

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 01/26/23

Pope Francis answers the AP by citing the Catechism’s call to welcome persons with homosexual tendencies.

Homosexuality shouldn’t be considered a crime, says Pope Francis, noting that as many as a dozen countries still enact the death penalty for homosexual acts.

The Pope said this in response to a question from The Associated Press about whether homosexuality should be considered criminal. (The full Spanish-language transcription of the interview is here.)

“We are all children of God and God loves us as we are and with the strength that each of us fights for our dignity. Being homosexual isn’t a crime,” he answered.

“It’s not a crime. Yes, but it’s a sin. OK, but first let us distinguish between sin and crime. Because as well, lack of charity to our neighbor is a sin. And you (each one), how are you doing?”

The Pope’s answer comes less than a week before he embarks on a trip to Africa, where more than two dozen countries recognize homosexuality as a crime, with three considering it a crime punishable by death.

The Holy Father began his answer by citing the Catechism’s call to welcome persons with homosexual tendencies.

2358The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

He also referred to something he said on his first trip as Pope, to Brazil for World Youth Day, which made a lot of news. He summarized it again for the Associated Press: If there is someone who is seeking God and is sincere, who am I to judge them? The Lord is there [for this].

The Holy Father also noted his 2018 trip to Ireland, where he said that a family with a son or daughter with homosexual tendencies shouldn’t reject that child, and instead a family environment should be created that allows them to live peacefully. The Pope commented that the attention of the press on that occasion ended up on the “the letter of McCarrick, no, from Vigano. The letter from Vigano.”

Pope Francis then referenced the fact of countries that legally condemn homosexuality, some with the death penalty, saying, “I think it is unjust.” He was able to cite an estimation of the number of countries with such laws.

Later he added,

I don’t think we should discriminate against anyone. Even more so, moving on from the problem of homosexuality, let’s go to another problem. The greatest assassin, the greatest sinner – we also shouldn’t discriminate against them. Every man and every woman has to have a window in their lives where they can place their hope, and where they can see the dignity of God. And to be homosexual isn’t a crime. It’s a human condition.

HomosexualityPope Francis
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