Pope Francis: His Statements on LGBTQ+ Issues

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Pope Francis’s recent apology for using a derogatory term about gay individuals marks the latest instance in a series of comments highlighting the Catholic Church’s teachings on homosexuality.

Throughout his 11-year pontificate, Pope Francis has made a concerted effort to reach out to LGBTQ+ Catholics. However, his informal style and direct approach have sometimes led to controversy, underscoring the sensitivity of this issue within the Church.

The Catholic Church officially teaches that homosexual individuals should be treated with dignity and respect, but considers homosexual acts “intrinsically disordered.” It also maintains that men who “practice homosexuality, have deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called gay culture” cannot be ordained as priests.

Here are some of Pope Francis’s most notable remarks on LGBTQ+ issues:

July 30, 2013: In his first press conference, Pope Francis responded to a question about a purportedly gay priest by saying, “Who am I to judge?” This signaled a more welcoming stance towards LGBTQ+ Catholics.

May 21, 2018: He told a gay man, “God made you like this and he loves you.”

August 28, 2018: The Vatican omitted Pope Francis’s reference to “psychiatric help” for young gay children from the official transcript of an in-flight press conference.

November 2, 2020: The Vatican clarified the Pope’s support for legal protections for same-sex couples.

January 24, 2023: In an interview with the Associated Press, Pope Francis stated, “Homosexuality is not a crime.”

January 28, 2023: He clarified his AP interview comments, noting that while homosexual activity is not a crime, it is considered a sin by the Church. “When I said it is a sin, I was referring to Catholic moral teaching, which states that any sexual act outside of marriage is a sin.”

August 24, 2023: During World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal, he led a crowd of half a million young people in chanting “todos, todos, todos” (everyone, everyone, everyone) to emphasize that all are welcome in the Catholic Church.

October 21, 2023: He signed a document from the doctrinal office allowing transgender individuals to be baptized and serve as godparents.

December 19, 2023: He approved the blessing of same-sex couples as long as it does not resemble marriage, a decision met with strong opposition from conservative bishops in Africa, Asia, and other regions.

March 25, 2024: He endorsed a doctrinal document declaring gender-affirming surgery to be a grave violation of human dignity, equating it with abortion and euthanasia as practices that reject God’s plan for life.

May 20, 2024: In a closed-door meeting with Italian bishops, Pope Francis reportedly stated there is “already an air of faggotness” in seminaries while reaffirming the Church’s ban on gay priests. He later apologized for offending those who heard his remarks.

Pope Francis’s efforts to bridge gaps with the LGBTQ+ community have been notable, yet his comments often spark debate and highlight the ongoing challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals within the Church.


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