UPDATE: Pope Francis clarifies recent sexual contact comments

Pope Francis hospitalised. Credit: AM113 / Shutterstock.com

15:03 (January 28) – The Pope has spoken to the media to clarify his controversial remarks earlier this week wherein he spoke about homosexuality and sin.

Pope Francis used the analogy of a conversation to clarify his point after his comments raised questions about whether he believed being gay was a sin in itself.

In a note, he reaffirmed that homosexuality “is not a crime.” He said he spoke out “in order to stress that criminalization is neither good nor just.

“When I said it is a sin, I was simply referring to Catholic moral teaching, which says that every sexual act outside of marriage is a sin.”

He went further saying that the pastoral ministry’s teaching is on a case-by-case basis that even teaching is subject to consideration of the circuncis for clarification. Circumstances he said “may decrease or eliminate fault.”

Acknowledging he could be clearer in his comments, he said it was in the midst of a natural conversation that he spoke out. He said: “As you can see, I was repeating something in general.

I should have said: ‘It is a sin, as is any sexual act outside of marriage.’ This is to speak of ‘the matter’ of sin, but we know well that Catholic morality not only takes into consideration the matter, but also evaluates freedom and intention; and this, for every kind of sin.”

Currently, around 67 countries are known to criminalise consensual same-sex activity and of those 11 can impose the death penalty.  But the Human Dignity Trust says that even where the laws are not enforced, they contribute to harassment, stigmatisation and violence against LGBTQ people.

For that reason, many people believe that the Pope missed a golden opportunity to bring change once and for all.

20:33 (January 25) – Pope Francis has called for the decriminalisation of homosexuality saying that it is a “human condition.”

According to the news site oantagonista on Wednesday, January 25 the pontiff had said that the church need to act against “unfair laws.”

Confronting those who believe that there is a “cure” for homosexuality he said: “Being gay is not a crime. It’s not a crime, but it’s a sin.

“All right, but first let’s tell a sin from a crime. It is also a sin not to have charity with others.”

Acknowledging that many within the church support legislation that criminalise homosexuality he said such discrimination relates to cultural issues that have developed over centuries.

But he said it was important to change and to recognise the dignity of all irrespective of their choices.

He added: “These bishops have to have a process of conversion.

“We are all children of God, and God loves us as we are and by the strength that each of us fights for our dignity.”

The statements from the Pope will be widely welcomed although many believe it is a missed opportunity to deal with the issue once and for all, believing that he is still skirting around the issue.

Critics say the statement by Pope Francis still does not recognise the rights of the LGBTQ+ community but rather seeks to decriminalise homosexuals by forgiving them for their “condition.”

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.