Pope Urges Christians and Others to Treat LGBTQ Persons ‘With Tenderness’, Calls for an End to Anti-LGBTQ Laws.

Matthew C. Woodruff

Gay CatholicsPhoto byPublic Use

In an interview published and released by the Associated Press, Pope Francis criticized laws that criminalize homosexuality as “unjust,” saying God loves all his children just as they are. The pontiff called on Catholic bishops who support the laws to welcome LGBTQ people into the church.

Pope Francis, considered to be the most progressive Pope ever, insisted that the Church has a duty to push the abolishment of anti-gay laws around the world, saying “it must do this. It must do this,” and said that Catholic leaders need to embrace these inclusive values.

Though the Pope’s teaching love and inclusion may seem very Christ-like, some Catholics were not best pleased with his stance. The pope has famously clashed with more conservative factions within the Vatican who favor a stricter interpretation of Catholic teachings on homosexuality and gender identity. One Gay Catholic tweeting, “Cringe. The Vatican’s sudden shift towards ‘LGBT rights’ is nothing more than a rebranding to maintain power and legitimacy with younger generations. As a gay guy, I don’t want progressive religion of any sorts.”

Though a much-needed step toward expressing Christ’s love toward all, Pope Francis took care to clarify that while not criminal, homosexual acts are still sinful in the eyes of the Church.

"It's a sin," Francis explained, adding: "Let's make the distinction first between sin and crime."

And on the issue of gay marriage, the Catholic Church’s official position remains unchanged: it cannot bless same-sex marriages because "God cannot bless sin."

The United Nations has repeatedly called for an end to laws criminalizing 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.

In the U.S., more than a dozen states still have anti-sodomy laws on the books, despite a 2003 Supreme Court ruling declaring them unconstitutional. One States Attorney General even recently said he’d be happy to prosecute a law that makes sex between two consenting gay adults in their own home illegal.

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Matthew is an independent journalist, an internationally award-winning author best known for Dark Humor/Lite Horror/Supernatural short stories, as well as an ordained minister who served as a domestic missionary. He is a lover of the unusual, travel, cats and the spark that makes people tick. Matthew is based in Florida, USA.

Gainesville, FL

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