Pope Francis: Anyone who discards gay people ‘doesn’t have a human heart’

Gay comedian Stephen K Amos meets Pope Francis (BBC)

Pope Francis has told gay comedian Stephen K Amos that gay people deserve “dignity.”

The Catholic leader made the comments to Amos during an audience filmed for BBC show Pilgrimage: The Road To Rome.

Pope Francis tells Stephen K Amos: Gay people ‘do not lose your dignity’

Meeting the Pope, the gay comedian explained: “I lost my mother, three months ago I buried my twin sister, who were both very religious.

“So me coming on this pilgrimage, being non-religious, I was looking for answers and faith. But as a gay man, I don’t feel accepted.”

The Pope replied: “Giving more importance to the adjective [gay] rather than the noun [man], this is not good. We are all human beings and have dignity. It does not matter who you are, or how you live your life – you do not lose your dignity.

“There are people that prefer to select or discard people because of the adjective. These people don’t have a human heart.”

Pope Francis attends the festival of families at Croke Park

Pope Francis (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty)

Speaking to i, Amos explained he did not initially want to meet the Pope because of the Catholic Church’s anti-LGBT teachings, unless he could ask him about the issue.

He said: “We found out on the penultimate day that we would be meeting the Pope. I said no.

“I’ve been quite vocal in my criticism in certain aspects of the Catholic Church. I thought a private audience meant you go and see him, he blesses you and you leave. I couldn’t in all conscience go and do that, it’s not me.

“Then I said I’d only go if we can ask questions. The producers asked, well, what sort of questions, as we don’t want to spark a diplomatic incident. So we gave in some questions and the answer came back from the Vatican that the Pope will answer any questions that you have.”

Anti-LGBT Catholic teachings have not changed

Although Pope Francis has given several viral soundbites about being inclusive of gay people over the past few years, critics say he has done little to actually reform the anti-LGBT teachings of the Catholic Church, which have an impact worldwide.

In a speech to an anti-gay marriage lobbying group in June 2018, the Pope said: “It is painful to say this today: People speak of varied families, of various kinds of family… [but] the family of man and woman in the image of God is the only one.”

In August 2018, the Catholic World Meeting of Families blocked participation from Catholic LGBT+ groups and censored depictions of same-sex parents in events literature.

Pope Francis smiles as he leaves at the end of his weekly general audience in Saint Peter's Square at Vatican on May 30, 2018.

Pope Francis smiles as he leaves at the end of his weekly general audience in Saint Peter’s Square at Vatican on May 30, 2018. (TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty)

The same month, the Pope suggested that parents should take their children to psychiatrists if they come out as gay.

“I would say first of all to pray— then, to not condemn, to talk, to understand, to make space for the son or daughter,” he said to Italian newspaper La Stampa.

“Then, it depends on the age in which this disquiet: it is one thing if it’s manifested in children, there are many things one can do with a psychiatrist.

“It is another if it’s manifested in your twenties. But I would never say silence is a remedy.

“To ignore a son or daughter with homosexual tendencies [shows] a lack of fatherhood or motherhood.

“I am your father, I am your mother, let’s talk, I will not throw you out of the family.”