Pope Francis has criticised laws that criminalise 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.
In an interview with the AP, Francis criticises laws criminalising homosexuality and calls on bishops to welcome LGBTQ people.
Francis acknowledged that Catholic bishops in some parts of the world support laws that criminalise homosexuality or discriminate against the LGBTQ community, and he himself referred to the issue in terms of “sin”.
But he attributed such attitudes to cultural backgrounds and said bishops in particular need to undergo a process of change to recognise the dignity of everyone.
“These bishops have to have a process of conversion,” he said, adding that they should apply “tenderness, please, as God has for each one of us”.
In the United States, more than a dozen states still have anti-sodomy laws on the books, despite a 2003 Supreme Court ruling declaring them unconstitutional.
The United Nations has repeatedly called for an end to laws criminalising homosexuality outright, saying they violate rights to privacy and freedom from discrimination and are a breach of countries’ obligations under international law to protect the human rights of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Declaring such laws “unjust”, Francis said the Catholic Church can and should work to put an end to them. “It must do this. It must do this,” he said.