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Pope Francis says laws criminalizing LGBT people are a ‘sin’ and an injustice

Pope Francis said on Sunday (5) that laws criminalizing LGBT people are a sin and an injustice because God loves and accompanies people with same-sex attractions.

Francis, who made his comments in response to a question from a reporter aboard the plane returning from a trip to two African countries, received full support for his comments from two other Christian leaders who were on the plane with him.

“The criminalization of homosexuality is a problem that cannot be ignored,” said Francis, who then cited unidentified statistics according to which 50 countries criminalize LGBT people “in one way or another” and about 10 others have laws that include the death penalty for them.

Sixty-six UN member states continue to criminalize consensual same-sex intercourse, according to data from ILGA World – International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. In many countries where same-sex relationships are illegal, punishments can include the possible death penalty.

“This is not right. Persons with homosexual tendencies are children of God. God loves them. God accompanies them… to condemn such a person is a sin. Criminalizing people with homosexual tendencies is an injustice,” Francisco said.

He noted that the Catholic Church’s catechism, or teaching book, says that same-sex attraction is not a sin, but homosexual acts are. It also says that LGBT people should not be marginalized.

Francis mentioned his now-famous phase shortly after becoming pope in 2013, that he couldn’t judge people with same-sex tendencies who seek God. He also noted that when visiting Ireland in 2018, he said that parents could not disown their LGBT children but had to keep them in a loving family.

Support from Christian leaders

The pope made the trip to South Sudan, the second country on the trip, as a peace pilgrimage with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields.

Both Christian leaders were on the plane returning from there and attended the pope’s usual press conference with reporters, the first of any papal trip.

Both praised the pope’s comments.

“I completely agree with every word he said there,” Welby said, noting that the Anglican communion itself was divided over gay rights and that two resolutions against criminalizing LGBT people “didn’t really change a lot of people’s minds.”

Welby added: “I will certainly quote the Holy Father. He said it so beautifully and precisely.”

Expressing his own support for Francis, Greenshields referred to the Bible, saying:

“There is no place in my reading of the four Gospels where I see Jesus turning anyone away. There is nowhere in the four Gospels where I see anything other than Jesus expressing love to whoever he meets, and as Christians, that is the only expression we can give to any human being in any circumstance.”

Francis repeated that the Catholic Church cannot allow sacramental marriage for same-sex couples, but that he supported so-called civil union legislation that gives same-sex couples legal protection on issues such as pensions, inheritance and health care.

Source: CNN Brasil

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