Pope Francis writes to a Jesuit priest. In an interview with The Associated Press, James Martin explained recent comments that “it’s not a crime to be gay,” referring to Catholic doctrine that teaches that all sexual activity outside of marriage is a sin. He said that
“I was merely referring to the Catholic moral teaching that all sexual activity outside of marriage is a sin.”
Pope Francis wrote these words in response to a letter from Father James Martin (SJ), an apostolate in the LGBTQ community in the United States.
An American Jesuit wrote to the Pope after a recent interview with the Associated Press.
His handwritten reply in Spanish was posted on Father Martin’s website, along with an English translation.
It is already clear from the context of the interview that the pope was talking about homosexuality, and in that case he meant “homosexual acts” rather than homosexuality itself.
In his letter, Pope Francis reiterated that his position was that of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as he had already said in his first interview with reporters on a plane returning from Brazil in 2013 ( “If a man is gay, seeks God, has good intentions, who am I to judge?”).
Correspondence to the priest. Pope Martin emphasized that with regard to sin, “one must also consider the circumstances that reduce or eliminate the error.”
The pope should have said, “Like sexual activity outside of marriage, it is a sin.” And intentions also know well to appreciate. And this is for all kinds of sins. “
Pope Francis has repeatedly stated in his letters that it is not a crime to be gay.
“Anyone who wants to criminalize homosexuality, I want to say they are wrong,” he wrote. “It is understandable that there is no such precise definition in a television interview where we spoke in natural conversational language.”
More than 50 countries have the potential to legally sentence homosexuals, and some of these countries have adopted the death penalty.
The Pope concluded his letter by assuring Fr. Martin prays for him and his work in the LGBTQ community.
“Do the same for me,” he said.