Pope Francis has criticised lawmakers for introducing legislation to criminalise homosexuality before describing being LGBTQ+ as a “sin”.

The Pope made the comments during an interview with The Associated Press on January 24th, where he described such laws as “unjust” and said that “being homosexual isn’t a crime.”

During the interview, Francis also acknowledged that despite his personal views, Catholic bishops in some parts of the world do, in fact, support such laws that criminalise or  discriminate against LGBTQ+ people before then referring to the issue in terms of “sin.”


The Pope commented that he saw such attitudes as being down to the “cultural backgrounds” of the bishops.

“These bishops have to have a process of conversion,” he said, adding they should apply “tenderness, please, as God has for each one of us.”

Globally a total of 67 countries criminalise private, consensual, same-sex sexual activity. Most explicitly specify that sex between men is an ‘unnatural’ offence.


11 of the 67 nations have implemented the death penalty as a punishment for consensual same-sex sexual activity, including Iran, Northern Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen – the death penalty is a legal possibility in Afghanistan, Brunei, Mauritania, Pakistan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.