Pope Francis calls for the global decriminalization of homosexuality

Most of the time, I genuinely believe Pope Francis is a progressive man who believes in the simplicity of Christ’s messages, that people should love one another, that judgment is for God alone, that the basis of society should be tolerance and inclusion. It’s just that Francis is the head of a much larger bureaucracy with a lot of moving parts and competing agendas, and many of those agendas f–king suck. Like, Francis would love to welcome all LGBTQ people to the Vatican and throw a big rave. Unfortunately, the Vatican officials won’t let him do that, so we’re stuck with this half-measure: Francis arguing that while homosexuality is a sin, it’s not a crime. He’s calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality.

Pope Francis condemned “unjust” legislation criminalizing same-sex relationships around the world, saying “being homosexual is not a crime” in an interview published Wednesday. He said the church must work to end such laws, while Catholic bishops who support them “have to have a process of conversion.” Instead, the clergy should offer “tenderness, please, as God has for each one of us,” the pontiff told the Associated Press.

“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,” he said. At least 67 countries, the majority in Africa or the Middle East, have national laws against same-sex relations, while at least nine others criminalize gender expression against transgender or other people, according to Human Rights Watch.

The pope is set to visit South Sudan — one of the countries that criminalizes homosexuality — from Feb. 3-5.

In the United States, meanwhile, more than a dozen states still have anti-sodomy laws, the AP reports, even though the Supreme Court determined them to be unconstitutional in 2003.

Although Francis criticized the criminalization of homosexuality, he made it clear that he believes homosexuality is a sin. “Let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime,” the pope said.

The church teaches that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered,” and though Francis has tried to use a more welcoming tone toward LGBT Catholics — most famously saying, “Who am I to judge?” — he has been unwilling to alter the official church stance.

[From WaPo]

As I said, Franny would love nothing more than to party with his gay peeps, and you know he probably had tons of gay amigos back in Argentina. As for all of this… homosexuality is neither a crime nor a sin, in my opinion. I understand the distinction he’s making, and he’s basically arguing that these discussions of sexuality and gender are for the church to decide, not the state. It’s a start. It’s too late, but it’s a start. I don’t know, maybe his words are even useful in the West as well – after all, there’s a significant rise in anti-LGBTQ legislation here in America. It’s the stupid f–king culture war that won’t die.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

41 Responses to “Pope Francis calls for the global decriminalization of homosexuality”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Amy Bee says:

    Pope Francis is not the radical people think he is. He says some good things at times but maintains the status quo perhaps to protect his position as Head of the Catholic Church.

    • Anonymous says:

      Totally. Also I think he’s doing this at least in part to try to lessen criminal offenses from Church sex scandals. The ones including minors will still be crimes, but he/they likely want(s) to lessen the criminal liability for the ones that aren’t.

      Also: if he’s so “enlightened” why can’t Catholic priests marry and why can’t women be priests in 2023?

      (Of course they do allow married priests who were already married and then converted.)

    • Mtl.Ex.Pat says:

      @amy bee – exactly. He says a few words, but his actions don’t match a lot of the time and there haven’t been any significant changes except wish washy lip service. No time for him or any of the other Catholic Church highers-up who continue to protect sexual predator and pedophile priests. Not to mention the intrinsic sexism, homophobia and transphobia that he works so hard to keep structurally intact. I prosecuted a catholic priest once and the mental gymnastics he went through to “justify” the abuse in his mind was staggering. (He was found guilty, by the way)

    • Cee says:

      He has always been agains equal rights in Argentina. He lobbied to stop the sitting government from legalizing equal marriage and other rights concerning LGBTQI+.
      He’s not progressive AT ALL.

  2. Beana says:

    This doesn’t go nearly far enough. By keeping it a “sin,” he still allows bigots to bar God’s people from the church, from the sacrament, from their communities, from their families. And countries who execute for sexuality/sexual identity won’t care. This is a craven pandering to a liberal Catholic audience that does nothing. For shame, Francis.

    • Beana says:

      And, by saying it in this way, it’s implied that this is some kind of progressive movement from the church. SO, PRIOR TO THIS THE CHURCH ENDORSED EXECUTIONS? No? So this CHANGES NOTHING? As if a stance that says “please don’t kill” is progressive for a branch of mainstream Christianity. FFS.

      Ugh, the day is young and I’m already screaming at the Pope. Yay.

      • Lilly (with the double-L) says:

        I agree with the early frustrated start to the day. At first I thought he was building a path to true progression and you said, nah pandering. I said nothing when Matthew McConaughey spoke on Uvalde, but I feel a similar way. I saw so much on his wonderfulness. What I perceived was middle of the road, no ban on automatic weapons, but more of a path to run for office. A being on both sides by these men and where does it truly help? In this case where’s true loving of all people? Not a sin nor a crime. Otherwise we continue to get persecution and death. Anyway, Beana I guess my same nerve was hit and I’m tired of the hurt, and hate, in the world. So, with my day I’ll look for the hope too. ❤️‍🩹

  3. Nanny to the Rescue says:

    Homosexuality is a sin just as much as eating shellfish is a sin or wearing mixed fabric clothes is a sin. Those things are in The Bible so they are impossible for the Pope to deny if pressed about it. Luckily for the Pope, nobody is pressing about mixed fabrics, but perhaps we should start. If we can’t reason with him that homosexuality shouldn’t be a sin, then we could at least debate why other mentioned sins are not given the same attention.

    ETA: Coming to think of it, I’m almost certain being gay (as in, male) is a sin, but being a lesbian isn’t, because women had no rights anyway and they were married off and nobody cared if they actually fancied somebody else, ’cause they didn’t have a say. So that was never put in The Bible because it was a non-issue.

    • Beenie says:

      “And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even. And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean. And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.” (Leviticus 15:19-21)

      Tl:dr – This literally means that people shouldn’t sit in the same spot a woman sat when she was on her period.

      So I guess if you’re really following the bible you should either start burning chairs and sofas or only stand.

      • Nanny to the Rescue says:

        Yeah, that’s my point. You can take The Bible literally, or count many sins that are listed there, but don’t be selective about it.

        There is actually a positive site to that quote, as nasty as it sounds. At least the men left their wives alone when they were on their period and possibly in pain. Silver linings or something?

    • Zazzoo says:

      That’s always been my understanding. Gay sin. Lesbian not sin. But I agree with Frank here that it’s none of the state’s bizness. Or anyone else’s bizness. Religion is a personal thing. You do you but leave the rest of us out of it. If we need religion, we’ll let you know.

    • SophieJara says:

      There’s also a Jewish argument that says it doesn’t even say homosexuality is a sin. At least in my progressive corner of Judaism. Not that it particularly matters, we interpret the Torah as a historical document embedded with human values good and bad. But we were taught that the wording there is very precise, it’s the only point that uses the word “male” instead of “man” as in “man lay with a male” and “male” was used for teens, people who were no longer boys but not yet men. So some believe that this is actually a response to the custom of men / soldiers taking adolescent boys as lovers. I’m not a Hebrew scholar though.

      • CruzMom says:

        I was raised in the Lutheran religion (which is similar to Catholicism), but evidentially a liberal version of it. We were expressly taught that homosexuality is NOT a sin, and hate against LGBT+ very much IS a sin. We marched for LGBT+ rights in the face of potential anti-LGBT+ legislation that arose from a very small but vocal group of anti-gay grassroots campaigners, which seemed like your local neighborhood white supremacists (i.e., not very many of them, but scary). We volunteered at AIDS hospice centers. This was the 1980s/1990’s. When I went out into the world as a young adult, I remember being absolutely SHOCKED that anyone thought being gay was a sin. The first time I realized that was even a topic of discussion was when I dated a guy from a Christian rock band. I remember yelling that he obviously had never read the Bible (I stand my ground on that one). Anyway, my hope is that Pope Francis knows that the whole concept is ludicrous and is taking the same baby steps that got us here to get us back. Those steps need to be bigger, but he’d just get replaced. Maybe his successor will have enough room to make the leap. I’d like to be able to take my kids to church someday.

    • Oh-dear says:

      and most scholars believe that early translations do not include commentary on sexual orientation; those passage are understood to refer to the abuse of power in relationships particularly relationships with slaves and employees.

      (I work at a Christian University with Theologians and this comes up often – the original Greek and Hebrew terms have been interpreted more recently to apply to homosexuality but that is a relatively new translation…the first time homosexuality turned up in the Bible was in the 1940’s).

      • Nanny to the Rescue says:

        All I know is that authorities using The Bible as an excuse to punish homosexuals goes on at least since the 11th century in Europe. So this interpretation is at least a thousand years old. It will take a lot of effort (hopefully not time) to dismantle it.

  4. Brassy Rebel says:

    Recovering Catholic here. I am no longer practicing the faith I was born, raised, and educated in until my mid twenties. That’s because I am not considered fully human just because I am a woman. And even Francis has not (will not) changed that. When speaking of women and their role in the church and society, he continues to use the “different nature” excuse for why women are treated differently (as in subhuman). Of course, women do not have a different nature from men. We have a human nature just as men do.

    I applaud Francis calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality everywhere. Still, he insists it’s a sin, just as he insists women posses “a different nature” than men. It’s amazing how little the Catholic church has to do to be considered making progress. And it’s another reminder of just how far it has to go.

    • Jennifer says:

      This is probably as good as it gets with Catholicism, and is a vast improvement from the past. We’re never going to get what we want out of that religion anyway because people in power would object in droves.

  5. ThatsNotOkay says:

    Can we just call anything we want a sin? Gimme a break. Gaying is a sin, but not hoarding lots of wealth in the basement of the Vatican, making it the richest institution in the world, but claiming poverty and insisting its followers give lots more money to the richest pedophile-protecting club on Earth.

  6. Erica says:

    This is just a distraction so people don’t focus on all the deaths at Canadian Catholic run residential schools AND the fact that the Catholic Church is reinstating priests credibly accused of sexual abuse. The Catholic Church does not give a damn about kids.

  7. Jais says:

    Being gay is a sin. Nope nope nope. GTFOH with that. I just can’t. Listening to people say I’m okay with gay people, but upon further questioning, hearing them say but yeah it’s a sin and they’re going to hell for it. Nope. It’s dangerous and heartbreaking to think about young kids possibly hearing that said about themselves.

    • Nem says:

      Catholic church policy on this problem has been catastrophic on global level.
      In France, scandals about sexual abuse by Catholic priests on any hierachical level goes on for years with the same kind of failures, as there is almost no one to replace them.
      It is interesting he choose to wait after pope benedict death to declare this.
      There is war with the most conservative part of the church, and they are pissed as they have lost their discreet champion.

      • Esmerelda says:

        @NEM I also immediately thought about this coming right on the heels of Ratzinger’s demise. Perhaps Bergoglio feels like a proper Pope now.

        The “sin, not crime” argument totally sounds like something a Jesuit would say. Casuistry.

        I do not agree at all, it’s no sin and definitely no crime… But incremental change can be helpful even if it falls short of the ideal. If this pronouncement can help stop unjust persecution, I’ll begrudgingly give the “progressive” area of the Church a smidgen of credit.

  8. Robert Phillips says:

    For the catholic church to survive the next Pope needs to be a Pope. Which I mean he needs to be in charge. He needs to tell the others how they are going to act and that’s it. They can’t go against his wishes. If they go against his wishes they are kicked out. And lose all power. He is either the Pope or isn’t. There can’t be part time.

  9. Christine says:

    I always say the fact there are so many versions of the bible based on who was in leadership at the time tells me everything I need to know about the religion.

  10. Anne Keane says:

    Does he still believe a woman having an abortion is like someone hiring a hitman? Disgraceful thing to say.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      I think the church still believes abortion should be a crime. Maybe the difference is, homosexuality laws affect men too, but abortion only affects women (and who cares about THEM, am I right?)

  11. ooshpick says:

    one baby step forward. gheesh. at this rate the catholic church might get in step with the 50’s.

  12. girl_ninja says:

    He’s in a wheelchair? Has he been ill?

  13. En ir says:

    I know many call him “the antichrist” or something, they don’t recognise him as the pope because of his progressiveness, and at the same time he is attacked for not doing more.
    I think it is much better to have a pope like him than one with the extreme ideology that is being pushed by people on the right. Things will not change fast, but he is way more tolerant and humane than others. I see my relatives who are on the right and their religious views are not tolerant nor humane.
    Many things to be corrected in the church would need a concilio (what’s the name in English?), he is not the absolute king of the church and he would not lime to alienate the different branches, he will try to guide them, which is more than other churches pushing extreme right agendas are doing. He’s encouraged for action towards helping, more than blocking out.

    • Malificent says:

      This! In practice, the Pope doesn’t have absolute power. There are many powerful conservative factions within the Catholic Church that can’t stand Francis because he is too liberal for them. I think he’s doing what he can, when he can, in the framework that he has.

      For those who complain that Francis is not an all-out progressive — would you rather roll back the clock to another John Paul II — who was great with a crowd — but had seriously regressive policies? Cuz that would probably be the next choice. It’s actually kind of amazing that Francis was elected at all because JP II seriously expanded the college of cardinals specifically to seed it with conservative flunkies who would carry out his agenda decades after he was gone.

    • ChillinginDC says:

      Hard agree. The Cardinals are trying to force him out. You don’t want who they want to get in there.

  14. bisynaptic says:

    The problem is they’re all closeted…

    • Mel says:

      Say it again for the folks in the back….

    • Julia K says:

      This has long been the assumption. Back in my youth and dating days, my then boyfriend had an older brother who dropped out of seminary. He said that it was not a good choice for a straight guy.

  15. QuiteContrary says:

    Francis has appointed most of the cardinals who will vote in the next enclave to choose the next pope (some of those cardinals are from Africa). So I hope he’s just the starting point.

    I also was raised Catholic and went to Catholic schools until college. But I left the church in part because a family member is gay and cannot be married in the church — I’ll wait outside the church until she is fully welcome, too. (The child sexual abuse scandal was another big reason I left.)

    This is an important step but it’s just a step.

  16. Laura33 says:

    Lol I can’t get over the lack of awareness from the Catholic Church everyone they make statements on morality. They are literally an true q anon conspiracy that enables and protects pedos but yes please tell us sinners about the how the gays are sinning. I just don’t get why so much of the world cares what a ridiculous old man dressed like a Queen (doesn’t the Bible say stuff about being humble and giving away wealth?!) has to say. Who is still giving money and energy to this evil organization? I’d rather flush my money down the toilet than to organizations that protect pedophiles and claim they have to ear of god.

  17. Emily_C says:

    Is he going to call for the decriminalization of being someone who can get pregnant? Doubt it. Is he going to apologize and make restitution to all the people the Catholic Church raped, and clean house to make sure it doesn’t happen again? Laughable. Is he going to allow women to become priests? HAHAHAHAHA

  18. The Recluse says:

    When he came to DC back during the Obama years, he held only ONE private audience and that was with his gay friend and that friend’s partner. I know this because they came to the opening of an art show at the gallery where my friend was exhibiting his work. Francis is more sympathetic than people realize. He is also dealing with entrenched factions, deeply conservative ones, who are actively working to undermine him. He ain’t perfect, but he’s better than people seem to give him credit for.

  19. BeanieBean says:

    If there’s anything the Catholic hierarchy is good at, it’s hairsplitting like this.

  20. Otaku fairy says:

    It’s not a disorder either. You *can* be queer and have an actual mental health issue, just like you can be a straight manly man or virginal straight classy woman and have a mental health issue. But being queer, being open, expressing your sexuality through art IS NOT A DISORDER. Non-violently expressing anger when bigots disrespect and abuse you over your sexuality, refusing to take the blame for their behavior, or calling them out when they treat other people that way is also NOT A DISORDER. These things are not grooming either. Neither is allowing youths to know that queer people exist.