Pope Francis has openly called laws that make it illegal to be LGBTQ a “sin” and an injustice, saying that God loves LGBTQ people.
Francis made the comments on Sunday Feb. 5 while holding a press conference on a plane on his way back to the Vatican after a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
He was accompanied by two other Christian leaders – Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland Iain Greenshields – both of whom backed his comments.
“Persons with homosexual tendencies are children of God. God loves them. God is with them,” the pope said. “Condemning a person like this is a sin. Criminalizing people with homosexual tendencies is an injustice.”
He said that dozens of countries around the world, including South Sudan, where he was returning from, still criminalize LGBTQ people, saying that “the criminalization of homosexuality is a problem that cannot be ignored.”
He repeated his famous phrase from 2013 when he first became the pope that he was not one to judge if an LGBTQ people was a believer.
He referred to his trip to Ireland in 2018, when he said parents should not disown LGBTQ children and should rather build a loving family, as well as a recent Associated Press interview in which he said “being homosexual is not a crime.”
He reiterated that the Catholic Church could not permit same-sex marriage but he supports civil union legislations that give same-sex couples legal protections and rights.