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  • Pope Francis together with the Anglican and Presbyterian Church Leaders Join in Denouncing Anti-Gay Laws.

Pope Francis together with the Anglican and Presbyterian Church Leaders Join in Denouncing Anti-Gay Laws.

By on February 6, 2023 0 15 Views

Along with the leader of the Anglican Communion and a prominent Presbyterian minister, Pope Francis spoke out against the criminalization of homosexuality on Sunday and argued that gay people should be welcomed by their churches.

The three Christian leaders participated in a three-day ecumenical pilgrimage to South Sudan in an effort to advance the young nation’s peace process. On their way home on Sunday, they held an unprecedented joint airborne news conference where they discussed LGBTQ rights.

They were interviewed regarding Francis’ recent remarks to The Associated Press, in which he stated that “being homosexual is not a crime” and that laws that criminalize gay people are “unjust.” One of the 67 nations that criminalize homosexuality, 11 of them with the death penalty, is South Sudan. LGBTQ activists claim that even in places where these laws are not enforced, they still foster an environment of harassment, discrimination, and violence. “We will say no if he (Pope Francis) comes here and says that same-sex marriage and homosexuality are legal.” Michael Makuei Lueth, South Sudan’s information minister, stated following the pope’s AP interview and prior to his visit.

On Sunday, Francis referred to his Jan. 24 comments to the AP and repeated that such laws are “unjust.” He also repeated previous comments that parents should never throw their gay children out of the house.

“To condemn someone like this is a sin,” he said. “Criminalizing people with homosexual tendencies is an injustice.”

“People with homosexual tendencies are children of God. God loves them. God accompanies them,” he added.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, recalled that LGBTQ rights were very much on the agenda of the Church of England, and said he would quote the pope’s own words when the issue is discussed at the church’s upcoming General Synod.

Francis reiterated that such laws are “unjust” on Sunday in reference to his remarks to the AP on January 24. Additionally, he reiterated earlier remarks that parents shouldn’t ever kick out their gay children. He declared, “To condemn someone like this is a sin. “It is unfair to criminalize those who have homosexual tendencies.” “Homosexual tendencies belong to God’s children. God cherishes them. God is with them, he continued. When the topic is discussed at the upcoming General Synod of the church, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, recalled that LGBTQ rights were a top priority for the Church of England and pledged to use the pope’s own words. “I wish I had spoken as eloquently and clearly as the pope. I entirely agree with every word he said,” Welby said.

Recently, the Church of England decided to allow blessings for same-sex civil marriages but said same-sex couples could not marry in its churches. The Vatican forbids both gay marriage and blessings for same-sex unions.

Welby told reporters that the issue of criminalization had been taken up at two previous Lambeth Conferences of the broader Anglican Communion, which includes churches in Africa and the Middle East where such anti-gay laws are most common and often enjoy support by conservative bishops.

The broader Lambeth Conference has come out twice opposing criminalization, “but it has not really changed many people’s minds,” Welby said.

The Rt. Rev. Iain Greenshields, the Presbyterian moderator of the Church of Scotland who also participated in the pilgrimage and news conference, offered an observation.

“There is nowhere in my reading of the four gospels where I see Jesus turning anyone away,” he said. “There is nowhere in the four gospels where I see anything other than Jesus expressing love to whomever he meets.”

The Presbyterian moderator of the Church of Scotland, the Rt. Rev. Iain Greenshields, who also took part in the pilgrimage and news conference, made a comment. “There is nowhere in my reading of the four gospels where I see Jesus turning anyone away,” he said. “There is nowhere in the four gospels where I see anything other than Jesus expressing love to whomever he meets.” “And as Christians, that is the only expression that we can possibly give to any human being, in any circumstance.” Same-sex marriages are permitted in the Church of Scotland. According to Catholic teaching, gay people must be treated with dignity and respect, but homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.”

The Church of Scotland allows same-sex marriages. Catholic teaching holds that gay people must be treated with dignity and respect, but that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.”

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