Pope: Homosexuality is not a crime but a sin


Southern Europe


Photo EPA, Giuseppe Lami

Pope Francis argues that all countries should remove homosexuality from their criminal code. He calls the clause that makes same-sex attraction illegal "unrighteous" and urges the Roman Catholic Church to put an end to the criminalisation of it.

"Being homosexual is not a crime", the Head of the Roman Catholic Church stated on Tuesday during an interview with Associated Press, as reported by the Dutch daily Reformatorisch Dagblad. In some parts of the world, bishops think it is okay that homosexuality is included in the criminal code, the Pope acknowledged. However, he added that clergy should make LGBT people feel welcome in the Church with "tenderness, as God has for every single one of us."

The interview with Pope Francis took place a week before he visited the Democratic Republic of Congo and to South Sudan. In the latter nation, homosexuality is considered a criminal offence. Worldwide there are still 67 countries that criminalise homosexuality, human rights organisation Human Dignity Trust says. Eleven countries have the legal instruments to punish homosexuals with the death penalty.

German experience

Furthermore, the Pope cited the Roman Catholic Catechism. That book states that homosexuals should not be discriminated against. It calls the homosexual practice "intrinsically disordered."

Francis calls homosexuality a human condition. "It is no crime", he argued. "Yes, but it is a sin. Well, first, let's distinguish sin from crime. But the lack of charity with the neighbour is also a sin, and how are you doing?"

At the same time, the Pope warns against the so-called Synodal Way, a reformation movement in the German Catholic Church. The Synodal Way considers the possibility of marriage for priests, female clergy and an ecclesiastical blessing for same-sex couples. In the interview with AP, Francis indicated that dialogue is good but that the "German experience is of no help." He said the process there is led by the elite, while it should be something of the "whole people of God and the unity thereof."



Subscribe for an update, and receive a documentary and e-book for free.

Choose your subscriptions*

You may subscribe to multiple lists.