Pope Francis: “I am open to a meeting with Zelensky and Putin”


The Pontiff also stated that laws that criminalize members of the LGBTI+ community constitute “sin and injustice”

Pope Francis, speaking to reporters on his flight back to Rome from South Sudan, stressed that “he is always ready to meet the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and the Russian president Vladimir Putin”.

“I did not go to Kyiv, because at that time it was not possible to go to Moscow either, but I was always in dialogue”, added the pontiff and recalled that “on the second day after the outbreak of the war, he went to the Russian embassy instead of the Holy See , to say that he was ready to go to Moscow to talk to Putin, provided there could be a little room for negotiation.”

“We must stop while there is time, the world is in a phase of self-destruction,” stressed Francis.

“Sin and injustice” laws on homosexuality

At the same time, he said that laws that criminalize members of the LGBTI+ community are “sin and injustice” because God loves and protects people who feel attracted to the same sex.

The head of the Anglican Church, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and the head of the General Synod of the Church of Scotland, Ian Greenshields, who accompanied him on his trip to South Sudan, welcomed his view and said they shared it.

“The criminalization of homosexuality is a problem we cannot ignore,” the pope continued. He then cited statistics showing that 50 countries have criminal laws against the LGBTQI+ community “in one way or another” and about ten more even have the death penalty in their laws.

Based on data from ILGA World (International LGBTQ+ Federation), 66 UN member countries still criminalize consensual same-sex sexual relations. In many countries where homosexuality is illegal, the death penalty can be imposed as punishment.

“This is not right. People with homosexual tendencies are children of God. God loves them. God protect them… to condemn a person in this way is a sin. Criminalizing people with homosexual tendencies is an injustice,” the pope continued. He recalled that in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, only homosexual acts are considered a sin and not same-sex attraction. He also added that members of the LGBTI+ community should not be marginalized.

Francis also cited his now famous saying, shortly after his election in 2013, that he cannot judge people who feel same-sex attraction and seek God. He also recalled that during a visit to Ireland in 2018 he said that parents should not disown their LGBTQ+ children but keep them in a loving family.

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