Laws that criminalize homosexuality are unjust, the head of the Roman Catholic Church said in an interview with The Associated Press (AP).
Pope Francis emphasized during an interview last Tuesday, Jan. 24, that being a homosexual is not a crime.
"We are all children of God, and God loves us as we are and for the strength of each one of us has to fight for our dignity," he added.
But despite this pronouncement, the Pontiff still emphasized the difference between homosexuality being a sin rather than a crime.
"It's not a crime. Yes, but it's [homosexuality] a sin. Fine, but first let's distinguish between a sin and a crime," the Pope said in Spanish.
"It [is] also a sin to lack charity with one another," he added.
Pope Francis also asserted that bishops needed to consider a process of conversion to acknowledge the dignity of everyone. Then urged them to add tenderness to their actions as God has for each of us.
Although the Pontiff only addressed homosexuality and did not specifically mention transgender or nonbinary individuals, supporters of greater LGBT inclusiveness in the Catholic Church considered his remarks as major progress.
In a 2020 documentary "Francesco," Pope Francis voiced civil union laws to protect same-sex couples.
The Pope also supported granting legal protections to same-sex couples when he was still the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in Argentina.