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Homosexuality ‘is not a crime’: Pope Francis talks about discrimination, death and weapons

Pope Francis has discussed gun violence, discrimination and death in a new interview.

Speaking to the Associated Press news agency, the pontiff stepped up his criticism of the unfair treatment towards the LGBT+ community, although upholding homosexuality is still a sin.

“Being gay is not a crime. It’s not a crime. Yes, it’s a sin,” Francis said. “but let us first distinguish between sin and crime.”

The Catholic Church remains opposed to same-sex relationships on moral grounds, despite their growing social and legal acceptance in many parts of the world.

In 2021, Francis signed a message saying the Church could not accept same-sex marriages, regardless of the stability or positivity of the couple’s relationship.

The Pontiff, a frequent critic of the arms industry, also spoke out against the use of firearms by civilians in self-defense, saying it was becoming a “habit”.

“Instead of making the effort to help us live, we are making the effort to help ourselves kill,” he said, denouncing the arms industry as a peddler of death.

“Please let’s say something that will stop this.”

Francis’ comments come days after near-consecutive mass shootings in California that left dozens dead and injured scores more.

Figures from the Gun Violence Archive – a non-profit research database – reveal that the number of mass shootings has increased dramatically in the United States in recent years.

There are more than 120 guns per 100 people in the United States, more than anywhere else in the world. In England and Wales, for comparison, there are just under 5 guns per 100 people.

AP reporters then asked the 86-year-old pope about his own health.

” I am healthy. For my age, I’m normal. I could die tomorrow, but I’m under control. I always ask for the grace that the Lord will give me a sense of humor,” he said.

His predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, died in December, having become the first pontiff in 600 years to step down a decade earlier.

This created an extraordinary situation in which there were effectively two popes, breaking protocol as one usually passes power to the other upon their death.

François was asked about the need for rules for any future retirement, after Benoît’s death.

“After a little more experience…then it could be more regularized or regulated,” he said. “But at the moment it didn’t occur to me.”

euronews Gt

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