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Pope sends letter to Fr. James Martin on homosexuality and sin

Pope Francis writes a letter to the Jesuit Fr. James Martin, explaining his recent comments in an AP interview that “being homosexual is not a crime,” said he was referring to the Catholic doctrine that teaches that any sexual intercourse outside of marriage is a sin.

Vatican News

“I was simply referring to the Catholic moral teaching that says any sexual intercourse outside of marriage is a sin.”

Pope Francis wrote these words in response to a letter from Father James Martin, SJ, who carries out his apostolic ministry to the LGBTQ community in the United States.

The American Jesuit wrote to the Holy Father after his recent Associated Press interview.

The Pope’s handwritten response in Spanish was posted on Father Martin’s website, along with an English translation.


Already from the context of the interview it was clear that the Pope was talking about homosexuality, meaning in this case “homosexual acts” and not homosexuality itself.

In his letter, Pope Francis reiterated that his position is that of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as he had already said in his first interview to reporters on his return flight from Brazil in 2013 (“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I?” such as to judge?”).

Answering about. Martin, the Pope stressed that with regard to sin, “it is also necessary to take into account circumstances that can reduce or eliminate guilt.”

“I should have said, ‘It’s a sin, like any sexual intercourse outside of marriage,'” the Pope added. “This is a word about the “matter” of sin, but we are well aware that Catholic morality not only takes into account matter, but also evaluates freedom and intention; and this is for every kind of sin.”


Pope Francis reiterated in his letter that homosexuality is not a crime.

“I would tell anyone who wants to criminalize homosexuality that they are wrong,” he wrote. “In a TV interview where we spoke naturally and colloquially, it is clear that there would be no such precise definitions.”

There are more than 50 countries that provide for the possibility of passing legal sentences on homosexuals, and some of these countries even use the death penalty.

The Pope concluded his letter with the assurance of Fr. Martin that he prays for him and his work with the LGBT community.

“Please do the same for me,” he said.

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