Pope, Archbishop of Canterbury and Church of Scotland promote legality of homosexuality

Pope Francis LGBTQ rights

Pope Francis has again expressed his stance against the criminalisation of homosexuality and confirmed his support for LGBTQ rights.

During his flight from South Sudan to Rome, he stated, “God loves people with homosexual tendencies. To condemn them is a sin. Criminalising them is an injustice.”

Pope Francis’ comments came in response to laws criminalising homosexual acts in some African countries. In 2013, he said, “Who am I to judge someone searching for the Lord who is gay and has good will?” In 2018, he said, “Parents of gay children shouldn’t condemn them.”

Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury and Iain Greenshields, the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, support Pope Francis’ stance. They also joined him on the papal plane from South Sudan back to Rome.

The Archbishop of Canterbury said he would quote Francis’ words when the issue is discussed at the Church of England’s General Synod. The Church of England has allowed blessings for same-sex civil marriages, but same-sex couples cannot marry in its churches. The Vatican forbids both gay marriage and blessings for same-sex unions.

Welby also told reporters that the issue of criminalisation has been taken up at two previous Lambeth Conferences of the broader Anglican Communion, but it has not changed many people’s minds.

The Lambeth Conference has twice opposed criminalisation, but Welby has acknowledged the “deep disagreement” among the provinces over LGBTQ issues.

The Presbyterian moderator of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Rev Iain Greenshields, also participated in the pilgrimage and conference.

Greenshields said, “there is nowhere in my reading of the four Gospels where I see Jesus turning anyone away.”

He emphasised that Christians should express love to all people, regardless of circumstances. The Church of Scotland allows same-sex marriages.

However, last month, the bishops of the Church of England decided not to allow same-sex weddings in church.

Pope Francis and the two Christian leaders spoke about LGBTQ rights during the joint airborne news conference. They were returning from South Sudan, where they took part in an ecumenical pilgrimage.

South Sudan is one of 67 countries that criminalise homosexuality, with 11 having the death penalty. LGBTQ advocates say these laws contribute to violence, harassment, and discrimination, even if not enforced.


Religion News Service

Wall Street Journal

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News category: Palmerston, World.

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