Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, and the protestant church leaders in England and Scotland have criticized the criminalization of homosexuality and said that persons with “homosexual tendencies” should be embraced by their religions.
Along with the Pope, Archbishop Justin Welby and Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, visited the war-torn nation of South Sudan to urge for peace there.
Speaking to reporters, the Pope said such laws were a sin and “an injustice”.
He added people with “homosexual tendencies” are children of God.
As the papal jet flew from Juba to Rome, Archbishop Welby and Dr. Greenshields held a press conference with journalists and commended the Pope for his remarks.
Archbishop Welby stated, “I absolutely agree with every word he said there,” emphasizing that the Anglican church had its own internal disagreements about LGBT rights.
The Church of England announced last month that it will not permit same-sex marriages in its churches.
Dr. Greenshields cited the Bible in support of his position and stated: “There is nowhere in the four Gospels that I find anything other than Jesus expressing love to everybody he meets, and as Christians that is the only expression that we can give to any human being in any scenario.”
Pope Francis reiterated during the press conference that the Catholic Church cannot recognize same-sex marriage as a sacrament.
However, he stated that he was in favor of so-called civil union legislation and emphasized that there was “a problem that cannot be overlooked” with laws that forbid homosexuality.
In his estimation, 50 nations “in one form or another” criminalize LGBT individuals, and around 10 of those have laws that carry the death sentence.
According to ILGA World, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, 66 UN member states currently criminalize consensual same-sex relationships.
“This is incorrect. People who have gay tendencies are God’s children “The Pope remarked.
“God cherishes them. God goes with them; it is wrong to condemn someone in this way.”