Pope Francis says people criminalizing homosexual acts are ‘wrong’

Pope Francis says people criminalizing homosexual acts are ‘wrong’ after pope came under fire for saying homosexuality is ‘not a crime, it’s a sin’.

  • A letter from Pope Francis, 86, claims his comments refer to Catholic moral teaching, which says any sexual activity outside of marriage is a sin
  • Pope Francis, appointed in 2013, has said criminalizing homosexuality is wrong

Pope Francis said in a letter published on Saturday that people who criminalize homosexual acts are “wrong”.

The letter to a Jesuit priest comes after the pope said earlier this week that homosexuality was “not a crime” but “a sin”. It was written to clarify what he said in an interview with the Associated Press on Wednesday.

The letter is intended to “make it clear that homosexuality is not a crime, to emphasize that criminalization is neither good nor just,” it says.

“When I said it’s a sin, I was simply referring to Catholic morality, which states that any sexual activity outside of marriage is a sin,” he wrote.

Pope Francis, 86, (pictured) has said that people who criminalize homosexual acts are

Pope Francis, 86, (pictured) has said that people who criminalize homosexual acts are “wrong”.

The 86-year-old was responding to a letter from US priest James Martin, who asked for clarification after the interview. Written in Spanish, it read: “I would say to anyone who wants to criminalize homosexuality that they are wrong.”

The letter was translated into English and published by the website Outreach, a Catholic LGBTQ resource of which Mr. Martin is the editor.

In Wednesday’s interview, Pope Francis said, “It’s not a crime… but it’s a sin.” He added, “It is also a sin not to have charity with one another.”

In his letter to Martin, Francis said his comments on “sin” referred to general moral teaching within the Catholic Church.

“When I said it’s a sin, I was simply referring to Catholic morality, which states that any sexual activity outside of marriage is a sin,” he wrote.

‘Of course, the circumstances that can reduce or eliminate culpability must also be taken into account.’

“As you can see, I repeated something in general. I should have said, “It’s a sin, like any sexual act outside of marriage.”

The issue of homosexuality has created a rift between modernizers and conservatives in the Catholic Church.

Since his appointment in 2013, Pope Francis has caused controversy with his relatively liberal stance on sexual orientation.

Although he has often received homosexual people and instructed that they must be welcomed into the Church, he adheres to Catholic teaching on marriage – that it is between a man and a woman in order to procreate.

Since his appointment in 2013, Pope Francis has caused controversy with his relatively liberal stance on sexual orientation

Since his appointment in 2013, Pope Francis has caused controversy with his relatively liberal stance on sexual orientation

In a June 2021 letter to Mr. Marin, Pope Francis thanked the priest for his work in reaching out to LGBTQ people and for writing that God “loves each of his children.”

Just a few months earlier, the Vatican had reiterated that it considers homosexuality a “sin” and that gay people cannot receive the sacrament of marriage.

His latest comments come ahead of a trip to Africa next week, where the criminalization of homosexuality is rampant. He plans to visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan during a six-day visit.

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Emma Colton

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