Pope Calls Criminalization of Queerness Unjust, Despite Catholic Church Pushing Anti-LGBTI+ Law in Ghana

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Pope Francis blesses attendees at the start of the weekly general audience on January 25, 2023 at Paul-VI hall in The Vatican. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

The leader of the Catholic Church has made another remark on the rights of queer people, saying that homosexuality should not be a crime. He made this known in an interview with the Associated Press, referring to laws that criminalize queerness as “unjust.” However, as is characteristic of him, these pronouncements were again not backed by any doctrinal changes in the Catholic Church.

Despite having a history of opposing LGBTI+ rights through most of his career as a clergy, Pope Francis has come to be known for making supportive pronouncements about the queer community, without implementing any doctrinal changes to the canon of the Catholic Church.

Under his leadership, several Catholic Churches have launched heated campaigns to further criminalize the LGBTI+ community, particularly in Africa and Eastern Europe. Currently, the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference is rallying support for the anti-queer bill in the Ghanaian parliament known as the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill. If passed into law, the bill will increase the years of imprisonment stipulated for Ghanaians convicted of same-sex sexual relations. It also strengthens legal support for torturous conversion therapy for anyone suspected of being a gender or sexual minority, including intersex people. 

Pope Francis has not commented on the Catholic Church’s political activities in Ghana. And has not affected the doctrine of the Catholic Church in any way to prevent national Catholic Bishops’ Conferences from continuing to promote the abrogation of the civil liberties of queer people. Perhaps, eventually, the vicar would put his Papal Bull where his mouth is.

by Kayode Somtochukwu ANI

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