Those who criminalize homosexuality are ‘wrong’, says Pope

Those who criminalize homosexuality are “wrong”, says Pope Francis in a letter published on Saturday. The pontiff seeks to clarify previous comments about homosexual acts considered a sin.

During an interview on Wednesday, the pope said that being homosexual is “not a crime”. “It is not a crime. Yes, but it is a sin”, he continued, adding: “It is also a sin to lack charity towards others”

In a letter to the American priest James Martin, the pope indicates that these recent comments on homosexuality were intended “to emphasize that criminalization is neither good nor just”. This letter was a response to that of James Martin, who demanded a clarification after the remarks made Wednesday with the AP agency.

“I would like to say that whoever wants to criminalize homosexuality is wrong,” writes Francis, in this letter written in Spanish and published on the Catholic site LGBT Outreach, whose editor-in-chief is James Martin.

Sex outside marriage

Francis points out that his comments on sin were a reference to moral teaching within the Catholic Church. “When I say it is a sin, I am simply referring to Catholic moral teaching, which says that any sexual act outside of marriage is a sin.”

“Of course, one must always consider the circumstances, which can diminish or eliminate a fault,” he adds. “As you can see, I was repeating something general. I should have said, ‘it’s a sin, like any sexual act outside of marriage'”.

The comments come days ahead of a trip by the pope to Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan, where the criminalization of homosexuality is common.

Major cleavage in the Church

The question of homosexuality caused a major split in the Catholic Church between modernizers and conservatives. Francis has sparked controversy since being named pope in 2013 with his relatively liberal attitude towards sexual orientation.

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Although Francis often received homosexuals and said that they should be welcomed into the Church with kindness, he does not deviate from the line of Catholic teaching on marriage, defined as the union between a man and a woman with a view to procreation.

In a 2021 letter to James Martin, the pope thanked the priest for his work with LGBT people, stressing the inclusive nature of Catholicism and writing that God “loves each of his children.” A few months earlier, the Vatican had reaffirmed that it considered homosexuality “a sin” and that homosexual people could not receive the sacrament of marriage.

This article has been published automatically. Sources: ats / afp

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