Pope Francis says laws that criminalise homosexuality are a ‘sin’

Pope Francis wears his white cassock while he sits on a white and gold chair during mass

Pope Francis has called for homosexuality to be decriminalised in parts of the world where it’s still a crime saying such laws are “an injustice” and “a sin”.

The Pope still won’t, however, allow same-sex couples to be married in a Catholic church.

The remarks were made after the Pope visited south Sudan with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Iain Greenshields, moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. 

Pope Francis told reporters the criminalisation of homosexuality is a “problem that cannot be ignored” and “an injustice”, adding that those with “homosexual tendencies” are children of God and should be welcomed by their churches. 

“This is not right. Persons with homosexual tendencies are children of God.

“God loves them. God accompanies them… condemning a person like this is a sin,” said the Pope.

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But the Pope followed his “support” for the queer community by stating that the Catholic Church will not change its stance on refusing to permit the marriage of same-sex couples. 

Last month the Church of England alsosaid it would refuse to allow same-sex couples to be married in its churches after five years of discussion and consultations. 

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Despite being legal since 2013, the Church of England has yet to join the 21st century and include same-sex marriages within its teachings.

The Church of Scotland voted to allow minister to conduct same-sex marriages in 2022 and the Church of Wales approved a blessing service for same-sex partnerships in 2021.

Justin Welby arrives for his enthronement
The Archbishop of Canterbury said progress on LGBTQ+ rights within the church will be “glacial”. (Getty Images/Bethany Clarke)

The Church of England recently issued an apology for its historically “hostile” treatment of LGBTQ+ people, but also refused to allow the ordainment of same-sex marriages.

Archbishop Welby and Dr Greenshields echoed the Pope’s comments stating that homosexuality laws are “an injustice”.

Dr Greenshields referred to the bible and said: “There is nowhere in the four Gospels that I see anything other than Jesus expressing love to whoever he meets, and as Christians that is the only expression that we can give to any human being in any circumstance.”

Welby recently said he would rather the Church of England lose its special status as the UK’s established church than allow same-sex marriage.

In early 2023, Welby met with lesbian icon Sandi Toksvig to discuss same-sex marriage.

The two sat down together after Welby invited Toksvig for a cup of tea in August 2022, when she took to Twitter to criticise his stance on the LGBTQ+ community as a “horrible mistake”.

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In a video posted online after the meeting, Sandi Toksvig said it was clear the “Church of England and the society it purports to represent are not remotely in step”.

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