Laws That Outlaw Homosexuality Are Deemed ‘unjust’ By Pope Francis.
Pope Francis labelled homosexuality laws “unjust,” saying God loves all his children just as they are and urging Catholic bishops who support the laws to welcome LGBTQ individuals into the church.
“Being homosexual is not a crime,” Francis declared in an exclusive interview with The
Associated Press. Francis admitted that some Catholic bishops around the world support laws that criminalize homosexuality or discriminate against LGBTQ persons, and he referred to the matter as a “sin.” However, he linked such attitudes to cultural backgrounds, and he stated that bishops, in particular, must undergo a process of conversion to recognize the dignity of all people.
“These bishops must go through a conversion process,” he added, adding that they must show “tenderness, mercy, as God has for each of us.”
Francis’ remarks, which LGBT rights activists welcomed as a watershed moment, were the first made by a pope criticizing such legislation. They are, however, consistent with his broader approach to LGBTQ individuals and his idea that the Catholic Church should embrace all people without discrimination.
According to The Human Dignity Trust, which works to remove such laws, 67 countries or
jurisdictions around the world criminalize consenting same-sex sexual behaviour, 11 of which can or do inflict the death penalty. According to experts, even when laws are not enforced, they contribute to harassment, shame, and violence against LGBTQ individuals.
“Don’t say gay” law
Despite a 2003 Supreme Court ruling declaring anti-sodomy statutes illegal, more than
a dozen states still have them on the books. Gay rights activists say the antiquated laws are
being used to justify harassment, and they point to new legislation, such as Florida’s “Don’t say gay” law, which prohibits instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, as evidence of ongoing efforts to marginalize LGBTQ
The United Nations has repeatedly called for an end to laws that criminalize homosexuality outright, claiming that they violate the rights to privacy and freedom from discrimination and are a violation of countries’ international legal obligations to protect the human rights of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Francis called such laws “unjust,” and said the Catholic Church can and should seek to end them. “It has to do this. “It has to do this,” he stated. According to the Catholic Church’s Catechism, LGBT individuals must be welcomed and valued, and should not be marginalized or discriminated against.
“We are all God’s children, and God loves us for who we are and for the strength with which each of us strives for our dignity,” Francis told the Associated Press in the Vatican
the guesthouse where he is staying.
Francis’ words come ahead of a trip to Africa, where such regulations, like those in the
Middle East, are popular. Many are from the British colonial era or are influenced by Islamic law. Some Catholic bishops firmly supported them as being consistent with Vatican teaching, while others urged for their repeal as a violation of basic human dignity.
During a meeting with human rights groups that performed a study into the effects of such laws and so-called “conversion therapies” in 2019, Francis was expected to deliver a
a statement denouncing homosexual criminalization.
In the end, the pope did not meet with the groups after information about the audience leaked. Instead, Vatican No. 2 did so, reaffirming “the dignity of every human being and the prohibition of all forms of violence.”
There was no suggestion that Francis was speaking out against such legislation now because his more conservative predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, died recently. The subject had never been discussed in an interview before, but Francis eagerly responded, providing data concerning the number of nations where homosexuality is illegal.
When it comes to homosexuality, Francis believes there should be a distinction between a
criminal and a sin. According to church doctrine, homosexual activities are sinful or
“intrinsically disordered,” but LGBT individuals must be treated with dignity and respect.
While joking with himself, Francis stated, “It’s not a crime. True, but it is a sin. Okay, but
first let’s define the difference between a sin and a crime.” “It’s also a sin not to be charitable to one another,” he continued.
Francis has not revised the church’s doctrine on homosexuality, which has long enraged gay Catholics. However, he has made reaching out to LGBTQ people a trademark of his pontificate.
Although the pope’s remarks did not expressly address transgender or nonbinary people, only homosexuality, campaigners for wider LGBTQ inclusiveness in the Catholic Church praised the pope’s remarks as a watershed moment.
“His historic statement should send a message to world leaders and millions of Catholics
around the world: LGBTQ people deserve to live in a world free of violence and
condemnation, and filled with kindness and understanding,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president, and CEO of the US-based advocacy organization GLAAD. According to New Ways Ministry, a Catholic LGBTQ advocacy group, the church hierarchy’s silence on such laws has had disastrous consequences, prolonging such policies and fostering violent rhetoric against LGBTQ persons.
“The pope is reminding the church that how people treat one another in the social sphere is far more morally important than what people may do in the privacy of a bedroom,” said the group’s executive director, Francis DeBernardo, in a statement.
welcome LGBTQ individuals into the church
One of the cardinals recently selected by the Pope, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, is
among those Catholics who want the church to go even further and completely welcome
LGBTQ individuals into the church, even if they are sexually active.
“It is a devilish secret of the human soul why so many men and women have a profound and visceral animus for members of the LGBT communities,” McElroy wrote in the Jesuit
publication America. “In the face of intolerance, the church’s primary witness must be one of embracing rather than isolation or condemnation.”
Francis has regularly and publicly ministered to the LGBT and transgender communities,
beginning with his famous 2013 comment, “Who am I to judge?” when asked about a
reportedly gay priest. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he advocated for legal rights for same-sex couples rather than approving the homosexual marriage, which Catholic dogma bans.
Despite such outreach, the Catholic gay community chastised Francis for a 2021 edict from the Vatican’s doctrinal office that stated the church cannot bless same-sex couples.
The Vatican refused to sign onto a UN proclamation calling for the decriminalization of
homosexuality in 2008, claiming that the wording went beyond its original goal. The Vatican advised countries at the time to avoid “unjust discrimination” against LGBT individuals and to abolish penalties against them.