Pope Francis, known for his progressive views on social issues, gave an interview to The Associated Press, in which he stated that “being homosexual isn’t a crime.”
“Yes, it is a sin, but we must distinguish between a crime and a sin…. It’s also a sin to lack charity with one another,” the 86-year-old pontiff noted. In the first interview the pope gave, since the death of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI on December 31, he spoke about his health, his critics and future of papacy.
Beside criticizing the laws criminalise same-sex relationships, Francis called on Catholic bishops not to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. “We are all children of God, and God loves us as we are and for the strength that each of us fights for our dignity,” he said, emphasising that bishops should apply “tenderness, please, as God has for each one of us.”
Regarding his health, the pontiff who had a knee problem 2021, said “I’m already walking, I’m helping myself with the stroller, but I’m walking. I’m in good health. For my age, I’m normal,” he said. “I might die tomorrow, but it’s under control. I’m in good health,” he joked.
During the interview, Francis praised Benedict, saying he lost a father figure and a confidant. “I lost a dad. For me, he was a security. In the face of a doubt, I would ask for the car and go to the monastery and ask,” he said of his visits to Benedict’s retirement home for counsel. “I lost a good companion.”
Pope Benedict resigned from the papacy on February 28, 2013, becoming the first pope to do so in nearly 600 years. “Benedict’s experience has opened the door for the new popes who resign to insert themselves (in society) in a freer way,” Pope Francis noted.