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In his first interview since the death of former Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis spoke about his health, his critics and the future of the papacy.
He also criticized laws criminalizing homosexuality as illegitimate.
Pope Francis told the Associated Press that although homosexuality is a “sin” in Catholic teaching, being homosexual is not a “crime.” He stressed the need to distinguish between the two, stating, for example: Lacking charity towards one another is also a sin. He added that the Catholic Church should work to end laws in some countries that criminalize homosexuality.
When asked about his health at age 86, I was healthy for my age and I am normal.
The pope has been forced to use a wheelchair in recent months due to a knee problem.
Asked about the wave of criticism against him from conservative cardinals and bishops after Benedict’s death, Francis admitted the knife was out, but seemed unfazed.
He said it was unpleasant, but it was better than hiding it.
This article originally appeared on NPR’s newscast.