Pope Francis has criticised the criminalisation of homosexuality.
Speaking to reporters after a visit to South Sudan on a peace mission, he said that people with “homosexual tendencies” were children of God, and that they should be welcomed in Roman Catholic churches.
“God loves them, God accompanies them,” he said. “To condemn a person like this is a sin. Criminalising people with homosexual tendencies is an injustice.”
However the Catholic church does not allow same-sex marriages in church, and the Catechism of the Roman Catholic church states that homosexual acts are “: “of grave depravity… homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
The Pontiff was accompanied on the plane by Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, and by the Rt. Rev. Iain Greenshields, Presbyterian Moderator of the Church of Scotland.
“I wish I had spoken as eloquently and clearly as the Pope. I entirely agree with every word he said there,” the Archbishop said.
Recently the Church of England has agreed to offer blessings to same-sex couples in a civil union, but still maintains its ban on equal marriage.
The Rt. Rev. Iain Greenshields, whose church does allow same-sex marriages, said: “There is nowhere in my reading of the four Gospels where I see Jesus turning anyone away,” he said.
“There is nowhere in the four Gospels where I see anything other than Jesus expressing love to whomever he meets.”