In an interview with the Associated Press, Francis told reporters “being homosexual isn’t a crime,” and that laws condemning LGBTQ+ identities are “unjust” and must be opposed by the Catholic Church.
“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,” Francis said. He attributed anti-gay sentiments among bishops to deeply rooted cultural biases, calling for “a process of conversion” for religious leaders to understand why they shouldn’t mistreat LGBTQ+ people.
But before you start singing Gogol Bordello, the Pope’s stance is complicated by his insistence that being gay is still a sin in the eyes of God and the church. “It’s not a crime. Yes, but it’s a sin. Fine, but first let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime,” Francis told interviewers. “It’s also a sin to lack charity with one another.”
James Martin, editor-in-chief of the Jesuit magazine America who has previously written in support of LGBTQ+ dignity, wrote on Twitter that the Pope’s comments were “an immense step forward.”