Pope Francis writes a letter to Jesuit Fr. James Martin clarified his recent comments in an interview with the AP that “being homosexual is not a crime,” saying he was referring to Catholic doctrine, which teaches that every sexual act outside of marriage is a sin.
According to Vatican News
“I was simply referring to Catholic moral teaching, which says that every sexual act outside of marriage is a sin.
Pope Francis wrote these words in response to a letter from Father James Martin, SJ, who apostolates among the LGBTQ community in the United States.
An American Jesuit wrote to the Holy Father following his recent interview with the AP.
The Pope’s handwritten response in Spanish, along with an English translation, was posted on Father Martin’s website.
It was already clear from the context of the interview that the Pope was talking about homosexuality, in this case referring to “homosexual acts” and not homosexuality itself.
In his letter, Pope Francis reiterated that his position is that of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as he had already said in 2013. in his first interview with journalists on the flight from Brazil (“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?”).
In response to Fr. Martin, the Pope emphasized that when it comes to sin, “it is necessary to take into account the circumstances that can reduce or eliminate guilt.”
“I had to say, ‘This is a sin, like any sexual act outside of marriage,'” the Pope added. “This is the ‘matter’ of sin, but we know very well that Catholic morality not only considers matter, but also values freedom and intention; and that for every sin.’
Pope Francis reiterated in his letter that being homosexual is not a crime.
“I would say to those who want to criminalize homosexuality that they are wrong,” he wrote. “In an interview on television, where we spoke in natural and conversational language, it is understandable that there would not be such precise definitions.
There are more than 50 countries where homosexuality is a legal punishment, and some of these nations even use the death penalty.
The Pope ended his letter by assuring Fr. Martin that he is praying for him and his work with the LGBTQ community.
“Please do the same for me,” he said.