Homosexuality is a sin but laws criminalising it are unjust, says Pope Francis

The Pope gave an exclusive interview to the Associated Press.

Sulaiman Daud | January 26, 2023, 11:04 PM

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Pope Francis of the Catholic Church has stated that laws criminalising homosexuality are "unjust", in a landmark interview with the Associated Press (AP).

He referred to homosexual acts as sinful and “intrinsically disordered”, reiterating the teachings of the Church, but also called on the Church to treat gay people with dignity and respect.

Being gay is not a crime

Speaking to AP on Jan. 25, the Pope said that being homosexual isn't a crime, and that the Catholic Church should work to put an end to laws that criminalise homosexuality.

He quoted the Catechism of the Church in explaining that gay people should not be marginalised or discriminated against.

"We are all children of God, and God loves us as we are and for the strength that each of us fights for our dignity," the Pope said.

Bishops who support discriminatory laws need to change

He acknowledged that there are Catholic bishops in certain parts of the world that support such discriminatory laws, and that these bishops may also themselves discriminate against the LGBT community.

However, the Pope said such attitudes are a result of cultural backgrounds, and bishops should change and recognise everyone's dignity.

"These bishops have to have a process of conversion," he said, and added, "tenderness, please, as God has for each one of us."

Singapore Archbishop on law that criminalises gays

Cardinal William Goh, the Archbishop of Singapore, previously commented on the matter.

This was in the wake of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's announcement during the National Day Rally (NDR) that the government would repeal Section 377A, the law that criminalised sex between men.

Back in Aug. 2022, before PM Lee’s NDR, Goh gave an interview, saying, "We don't want to criminalise people", and that the Church would be "neutral" as long as the rights of the Church and religious adherents are protected.

Goh added that the decision to undertake a repeal was up to the government.

After PM Lee’s announcement to repeal 377A during National Day Rally, the Archbishop’s Communications Office reiterated their stance,

“With regards to the repeal of S377A, we do not seek to criminalise the LGBTQ, for they too are children of God and loved by Him.

However, we seek protection of the family and marriage according to natural law; and our rights to teach and practise them unhindered.”

Parliament voted to repeal 377A in Nov. 2022, and also voted to safeguard the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

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Top image by Ashwin Vaswani via Unsplash.