In an interview with Associated Press on Tuesday, Pope Francis acknowledged that there is a need for those in the Catholic Church, particularly Bishops, to fight against the criminalisation of homosexuality, as well as discrimination against the LGBT community. According to CNBC, “Francis quoted the Catechism of the Catholic Church in saying gay people must be welcomed and respected, and should not be marginalized or discriminated against. “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, speaking to the AP in the Vatican hotel where he lives.”1
His comments were in line with the approach that the Pope has previously taken towards the LGBTQ+ community, and focused on the dignity of all people. These comments come at a time when religious conservatism is on the rise, particularly towards the LGBTQ+ community. Currently, 66 countries have laws criminalising consensual same-sex sexual activity – some of which can (and do) impose the death penalty for this activity. These laws criminalising same-sex attraction and activity create difficult legal contexts for LGBTQ+ people and heterosexual people alike, and continue to generate and enforce the social exclusion of, and discrimination towards, LGBTQ+ people in these countries and contexts. In these countries, LGBTQ+ people are subject to “arrest, blackmail, extortion, stigma, discrimination, [and] violence,”2 which is in contravention with International Human Rights laws and standards.
We at GIN are particularly encouraged by this statement by Pope Francis, as many of these laws are on the books in the Global South where the vast majority of Catholics reside.3
GIN director, Rev. Toni Kruger-Ayebazibwe shares that, “This is a heartening statement from one of the most influential religious communities in the world. GIN hopes that those Catholic Bishops who have continued to campaign for the ongoing criminalisation of LGBT people will take to heart Pope Francis’ injunction to welcome and respect the LGBT community, and to treat every human being with the dignity they deserve.”
You can read the article here: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/01/25/homosexuality-not-a-crime-pope-francis-says.html
Image by Günther Simmermacher from Pixabay