Pope Francis said in a recent interview that homosexuality “isn’t a crime” and that “we are all children of God.” The pontiff also condemned “unjust” laws that penalize homosexuality.
The pope also said, however, that even though homosexuality is not a crime, it is sinful. He addressed Catholic bishops who are in favor of laws that criminalize homosexuality in different countries around the world and urged them to differentiate between religious sins and legal crimes.
He said that the bishops should instead offer the “tenderness as God has for each one of us.” Jesuit priest the Rev. James Martin said believes that the pope’s comment will help in mitigating violence against the LGBTQ community and save lives.
“It’s not a crime,” the pope said. “Yes, but it’s a sin. Fine, but first, let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime. It’s also a sin to lack charity with one another.”
The pope went on to address Catholic bishops who have voiced support for laws criminalizing homosexuality in countries around the world. While he did acknowledge homosexual relations are sinful, he urged faith leaders to distinguish between legal crimes and religious sins.
To those bishops who feel homosexuality should carry with it legal consequences, Francis encouraged them to reconsider their points of view on the matter.
“These bishops have to have a process of conversion,” he told The AP, adding such clergy members should exhibit the same “tenderness as God has for each one of us.”
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