Pope: Being Gay is a Sin, Not a Crime

    Pope: Being Gay is a Sin, Not a Crime
    Last updated Jan 26, 2023
    Image credit: Associated Press


    • Pope Francis, speaking to the Associated Press, has criticized laws that criminalize homosexuality as “unjust,” adding that “being homosexual isn’t a crime.”[1]
    • But Francis reaffirmed the Catholic teaching that homosexuality is a "sin." In a divergence from previous popes, Francis also said that discriminating against LGBTQ+ people is sinful.[2]
    • It is believed that 67 countries or jurisdictions have laws criminalizing homosexual activity. Of those countries, 11 can or do impose the death penalty; the UN has repeatedly called for an end to such laws.[3]
    • Catholic bishops in various parts of the world continue to support laws criminalizing homosexuality. Francis said those bishops need to undergo a process to change their views.[4]
    • Part of Francis’ papacy has focused on outreach to LGBTQ+, as he has repeatedly ministered to members of that community. Francis also supports legal protections for same-sex couples, although he stops short of endorsing gay marriage.[1]
    • Despite his efforts, Francis has been criticized by the Catholic gay community for issuing a decree saying the church cannot bless same-sex unions. In 2008, the Vatican, under Pope Benedict XVI, declined to sign a UN declaration calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality.[5]


    Progressive narrative

    Pope Francis was already more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community than his predecessors, and these words are a historic step toward further acceptance by the Church. Although the Church still might not be as open as it should be, Francis’ words could save lives in places where there are severe consequences for LGBTQ+ populations. Francis’ words come just as he’s about to make a historic visit to Africa where these rights are under threat.

    Conservative narrative

    While the LGBTQ+ community shouldn't be discriminated against, Francis’ continued pushing of the LGBTQ+ agenda is remaking Catholic teaching into another body espousing progressive ideology under the guise of traditionalism. There is no middle ground. The Church has nearly two millennia of teachings on the issue, and Francis’ attempt to reverse this is a repudiation of Catholic doctrine.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 2% chance there will be an openly LGBT Pope before 2050, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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