The high priest declared a few days ago that homosexuality was “not a crime” but a “sin”. He reinforces his words and says he bases himself on “Catholic moral teaching”.
In a letter published on Saturday, Pope Francis returns to his statements on homosexuality, which is qualified as a “sin”. He reiterates his words and reaffirms that the criminalization of homosexuality is “wrong”.
“I want to say that anyone who wants to criminalize homosexuality is wrong,” writes the sovereign pope in this letter, written in Spanish and published on Outreach, a Catholic LGBT website edited by James Martin.
This letter is in response to American priest James Martin, who asked for clarification following comments made to the Associated Press news agency on Wednesday.
Statements based on “Catholic morals”
Francis points out in Saturday’s letter that his earlier comments on sin were a reference to moral teaching within the Catholic Church.
“When I say it’s a sin, I’m simply referring to Catholic morality, which states that any sexual activity outside of marriage is a sin.”
“Of course, we always have to consider the circumstances that can mitigate or eliminate a deficiency,” he adds.
“As you can see, I was repeating something general. I should have said, ‘It is a sin, like any sexual act outside of marriage’.”
No change to the lineage of the Catholic Church
In an interview published on Tuesday, François said being gay is “not a crime, it is a ‘sin.’
Although Francis often received homosexuals and said they should be welcome in the Church, he does not deviate from the line of Catholic teaching on marriage, which is defined as the union between a man and a woman with a view to procreation.
In a June 2021 letter to James Martin, the pope thanked the priest for his work with LGBT people, emphasized the inclusive nature of Catholicism, and wrote that God “loves each of his children.”
A few months earlier, the Vatican had reiterated that it considered homosexuality a “sin” and homosexual people could not receive the sacrament of marriage.