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Pope Francis calls laws criminalizing homosexuality "unjust"

"Being homosexual is not a crime ... but it's a sin," the pope told AP in an interview published today.

Pope Francis in an interview with AP published Wednesday called laws that criminalize homosexuality "unjust."

Why it matters: The pope's remarks build on his earlier expressions of support for the LGBTQ community, which has traditionally been marginalized by the church.

What he's saying: "Being homosexual is not a crime ... but it's a sin," the pope told AP.

  • "Fine, but first let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime. It’s also a sin to lack charity with one another."

The big picture: While the pope hasn't distanced himself from Catholic teachings that homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered," he has in recent years displayed outreach to LGBTQ people — notably when he expressed support for the first time for same-sex civil unions during a 2020 documentary.

  • Francis last year called on parents not to condemn their children if they're gay and a Jesuit priest who ministers to LGBTQ Catholics shared a letter from the pope in June 2021 praising his work.

Yes, but: In March of that year, the Vatican in a decree approved by the pope said Catholic priests cannot bless such unions because God "does not and cannot bless sin."

Go deeper: Pope Francis says homosexuality in the clergy "worries" him

Editor's note: This article has been updated with additional details throughout.

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