Pope Francis and the leaders of protestant churches in England and Scotland have denounced the criminalisation of homosexuality.
Speaking to reporters after visiting South Sudan, the Pope said such laws were a sin and “an injustice”.
He added people with “homosexual tendencies” are children of God and should be welcomed by their churches.
His comments were backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland.
Archbishop Justin Welby and Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, travelled with the Pope to South Sudan where they jointly called for peace in the war-torn country.
It is the first time the leaders of the three traditions have come together for such a journey in 500 years.
Archbishop Welby and Dr Greenshields praised the Pope’s comments during a news conference with reporters on board the papal plane as they travelled from Juba to Rome.
“I entirely agree with every word he said there,” said Archbishop Welby, noting that the Anglican church had its own internal divisions over gay rights.
Last month the Church of England said it would refuse to allow same-sex couples to be married in its churches.
Expressing his own support, Dr Greenshields referred to the Bible, saying: “There is nowhere in the four Gospels that I see anything other than Jesus expressing love to whoever he meets, and as Christians that is the only expression that we can give to any human being in any circumstance”.
During the news conference Pope Francis repeated his view that the Catholic Church cannot permit sacramental marriage of same-sex couples.
But he said he supported so-called civil union legislation, and stressed that laws banning homosexuality were “a problem that cannot be ignored”.
He suggested that 50 countries criminalise LGBT people “in one way or another”, and about 10 have laws carrying the death penalty.
Currently 66 UN member states criminalise consensual same-sex relations, according to ILGA World – the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.
“This is not right. Persons with homosexual tendencies are children of God,” said the Pope.
“God loves them. God accompanies them… condemning a person like this is a sin.”
Under current Catholic doctrine, gay relationships are referred to as “deviant behaviour” and Pope Francis has previously said he was “worried” about the “serious matter” of homosexuality in the clergy.
But some conservative Catholics have criticised him for making comments they say are ambiguous about sexual morality.
In 2013, soon after becoming Pope, he reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s position that homosexual acts were sinful, but added that homosexual orientation was not.
Five years later, during a visit to Ireland, Pope Francis stressed that parents could not disown their LGBT children and had to keep them in a loving family.
New King James Version
20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
New King James Version
God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who [a]suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is [b]manifest [c]in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and [d]Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like [e]corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their [f]women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the [g]men, leaving the natural use of the [h]woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, [i]sexual immorality, wickedness, [j]covetousness, [k]maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 [l]undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, [m]unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
1 Timothy 4:1-4
New King James Version
The Great Apostasy
4 Now the Spirit [a]expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving;
The New World Order Agenda is commencing..
Please repent, carry your cross daily and accept the free gift of Jesus Christ’s Death on the Cross for payment for your sins.
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