Pope Francis discussed gun violence, discrimination and death in a new interview.
Speaking to the Associated Press, the pontiff increased his criticism of unfair treatment towards the LGBT+ community, even though homosexuality is still a sin.
Francis said, “Being gay is not a crime. It is not a crime. Yes, it is a sin.” “But let us first differentiate between sin and crime.”
The Catholic Church still opposes same-sex relationships on moral grounds, despite its increasing social and legal acceptance in many parts of the world.
In 2021, Francis signed a letter saying that the Church cannot accept same-sex marriage, no matter how stable or positive the couple’s relationship is.
The pope, a frequent critic of the arms industry, also criticized the use of weapons by civilians to defend themselves, saying it had become a “habit”.
“Instead of doing our best to help us live, we’re doing everything we can to help us kill,” he said, denouncing the gun industry for promoting death.
“Please, let’s say something that will stop this.”
Francis’ comments come days after back-to-back mass shootings in California that have killed dozens and injured many more.
Figures from the Gun Violence Archive—a nonprofit research database—reveal that the number of mass shootings has risen exponentially in the United States in recent years.
There are more than 120 firearms per 100 residents in the United States, more than anywhere else in the world. In England and Wales, for comparison, there are fewer than 5 guns per 100 people.
Then AP reporters asked the 86-year-old pontiff about his health.
“I am healthy. For my age, I am normal. I may die tomorrow, but I am under control. I always ask for the grace that the Lord gives me with a sense of humor.”
His predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, died in December, after becoming the first pope in 600 years to resign a decade earlier.
This created an unusual situation where there were effectively two popes, breaking protocol as one would usually transfer power to the other at his death.
Francis was asked about the need for rules for any future retirement, after Benedict’s death.
“With more experience…then he could be more structured or structured,” he said. “But at the moment it just didn’t occur to me.”