Pope Francis has criticized in an interview with the AP news agency countries that apply laws that criminalize homosexual people. The Pontiff has described these norms as “unfair”, also stressing that God loves all his children and pointing to the bishops or episcopal conferences that still support these laws so that they welcome the LGTBI community into their midst. “Being homosexual is not a crime,” he has said. Although, as he always does when he addresses this issue, he has pointed out that it is indeed a “sin”. “First let us distinguish sin from crime. But the lack of charity with the neighbor is also a sin ”, he has qualified.
Francis addressed the issue of homosexuality from the very beginning of his pontificate. It was in his famous statement in 2013, when he returned from his trip to Brazil, when he launched that “who am I to judge them?” The Pontiff has always said that homosexuals must be accepted by their families and has referred to the LGTBI community, valuing their rights as citizens. He has also defended civil unions for homosexual people and has spoken on numerous occasions of “helping”, but “without imposing things on the Church that by their nature cannot be imposed.” Often, however, he has added some controversial nuances. Especially when he has recommended on more than one occasion to parents who detect this sexual tendency at an early age that they take their children to the psychologist.
Francis insisted in the interview that the bishops must change their approach to this issue through a “path of conversion” to show “tenderness like the one God has with each one of us.” In the legal section, his thinking is very clear, as he already expressed on his return trip from Slovakia. “I have spoken clearly on this. Marriage is a sacrament of the Church and it cannot be changed, but there are laws that try to help the situation of so many people of different sexual orientations and this is important”. Another thing is the theological question.
In the same interview, the Pope addressed the issue of a possible resignation after the death of Benedict XVI. Without the figure of the emeritus pontiff, the way would be clear if Jorge Mario Bergoglio felt that he should step aside. “I’m healthy. Because of the age I am, I am normal, ”he assured. “I can die tomorrow, but come on, he is controlled. I’m in good health, ”he ironized.
In any case, Bergoglio assured that he does not plan to resign in the short term, but that if he did, he would do so under the title of emeritus bishop of Rome – not emeritus pope, as his predecessor did – and would prefer to live in a residence for retired priests. In no case, it seems, he would return to Argentina. Regarding Benedict XVI and the decision to stay in Rome, he pointed out that he could not make it with absolute freedom. “He was still the slave, in quotes, of a pope, right? ―Francisco opined― From the vision of a pope, of a system. Slave in the good sense of the word. In the (sense of) that he was not entirely free, perhaps he would have wanted to return to his Germany and continue studying theology from there ”.
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