Pope Francis has reinforced his stance on the inclusivity of the LGBTQ+ community, declaring that the criminalization of homosexuality is a grave mistake. On a flight back from South Sudan, where homosexual acts are considered a crime, the Pope emphasized that it is sinful to judge and condemn individuals based on their sexual orientation.

This bold declaration by Pope Francis serves as a beacon of hope for the LGBTQ+ community and advocates for a more accepting and loving society.

Homosexuality is Not A Crime

Pope Francis made it clear that he believes in the dignity and worth of all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation. In a recent article in Christianity Daily, he acknowledged that some bishops within the Catholic Church had discriminatory views towards the LGBTQ community. Still, he attributed this to cultural influences and called for them to undergo a process of change and conversion.

He encouraged the application of tenderness and understanding, echoing the same compassion that God shows to all people. These remarks by the Pope were praised by gay rights advocates, who view it as a significant step towards a more inclusive and accepting church.

According to AP News, since his famous declaration "Who am I to judge?" in 2013, he has made multiple public statements supporting the gay and transgender communities. During his time as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he favored granting legal protections to same-sex couples as a form of protection, even though Catholic doctrine does not allow for gay marriage.

However, despite his outreach efforts, Pope Francis received criticism from the Catholic gay community due to a decree from the Vatican's doctrine office in 2021 that stated that the church could not bless same-sex unions. In 2008, the Vatican declined to sign a United Nations declaration calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality, as they felt that the text went beyond its original scope. Nevertheless, the Vatican stated at the time, urging countries to avoid unjust discrimination against gay people and to end penalties against them.

Also Read: Prominent Pastor R.A. Vernon Argues Scriptural Proof of 'Born Gay', Conflicts About Homosexuality Remains Unresolved   

Promoting Human Rights and Equality for All People

The matter of homosexuality and its acceptance within religious communities has been a source of tension across different denominations. Some churches, like the Church of Scotland, have embraced same-sex marriages. Others, like the Anglican Church, are grappling with the conflict between its liberal Western members and conservative African bishops. This has resulted in a divided stance on the issue.

According to New York Times, the presence of Archbishop Welby on the flight back to Rome with Pope Francis from Africa, was a testament to this struggle. Despite the Anglican Church's efforts to issue declarations against the criminalization of homosexuality, the issue continues to create rifts within the community. Archbishop Welby acknowledged this, stating that the declarations have not changed many's minds.

In a recent statement on Sunday, Pope Francis repeated that the criminalization of homosexuality is a problem that needs to be addressed and cannot be ignored. He condemned countries that enforce such laws, especially those that impose the death penalty, calling it unjust. This strong stance on the issue shows the Pope's commitment to promoting human rights and equality for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Related Article: Pope Declares Homosexuality Not a Crime But a Sin; Calls to Respect LGBTQ+ Community