In a lengthy interview with The Associated Press that was released on Wednesday, the pope discussed a variety of topics, including prejudice against the LGBTQ population, his own health and future plans, and the demise of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
Francis, however, reaffirmed church doctrine that gay behaviour is wrong.
Francis said, “It’s a sin,” adding, “Let’s first distinguish between sin and criminality.”
Significantly, the pope made it clear that discriminating against others was equally wrong, asking: “What about that? It’s also a sin to lack compassion with one another.”
Despite the fact that homosexual actions are seen as “intrinsically evil,” according to Catholic Church doctrine, LGBT individuals must be welcomed into the church and treated with respect and care.
Francis has not altered this doctrine, and the Vatican’s doctrinal authority ruled in 2021 that the church could not sanctify same-sex relationships because “God cannot sanctify sin.”
But Pope Francis has consistently fought for gay rights and the acceptance of LGBTQ individuals in Catholic society.
Francis said that the church “must” seek to get unfair laws repealed globally.
The Human Dignity Trust group states that 67 nations, especially in Africa and the Middle East, regard same-sex sexual actions to be crimes. The death penalty is an option for punishment in 11 of those nations.
Although the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that laws prohibiting sodomy were unconstitutional, more than a dozen U.S. states currently have such laws in place.
The pope said that some bishops from nations that prohibit homosexuality accept the laws because they are ingrained in the local culture. He urged such bishops to go through a “conversion” process so that they might “tenderly” welcome LGBQT individuals into their ministry.
The pope also denounced a German movement known as the “Synodal Path,” in which bishops and laypeople are debating the viability of divisive church changes including allowing priests to get married, letting women to serve as deacons, and blessing same-sex relationships in church.
Francis did not directly address the problems being discussed, but he invalidated the process by saying it was being run by a “elite” and did not speak for “all the people of God.”
The Vatican rejected a German bishops’ plan to create a new governance body for the German church that would have included both bishops and laypeople earlier this week.
Francis, 86, answered inquiries about his health as well and said that the diverticulitis that required surgery in 2021 had resurfaced. He credited laser and magnetic treatment for helping the minor knee fracture that required him to reschedule excursions and use a wheelchair to recover without surgery.
He said, “I’m already walking; I’m just assisting myself with the stroller. “My health is excellent. I’m average for my age.”
Rumors that Francis would resign have become stronger with the passing of retired Pope Benedict XII earlier this year. Whatever, he said to the AP that he intends to go on for however long he can.
He said again that if he were to retire, he would desire to be acknowledged as the Bishop Emeritus of Rome and dwell at a retirement community for priests in Rome.
The next popes who step down will now be able to enter society more freely because to Benedict’s experience, he said.
Francis said that he lost a confidant and a father figure with Benedict’s passing.
“He served as protection for me. When in doubt, I would request the automobile and go to the monastery “where Benedict resided to get advice. I lost a wonderful friend.