Pope Francis criticizes laws that criminalize homosexuality as “unjust,” saying God loves all his children just as they are, and called on Catholic bishops who support the laws to welcome LGBTQ people into the church.
“Being homosexual isn’t a crime,” Francis says during an exclusive interview with The Associated Press.
Francis acknowledges that Catholic bishops in some parts of the world support laws that criminalize homosexuality or discriminate against the LGBTQ community, and he himself referred to the issue in terms of “sin.” But he attributes such attitudes to cultural backgrounds, and says bishops in particular need to undergo a process of change to recognize the dignity of everyone.
“These bishops have to have a process of conversion,” he says, adding that they should apply “tenderness, please, as God has for each one of us.”
Francis’ comments are the first uttered by a pope about such laws, but they are consistent with his overall approach to the LGBTQ community and belief that the Catholic Church should welcome everyone and not discriminate.