Homosexuality 'sin', no 'crime'; should not criminalise: Pope Francistext_fields
Vatican City: Pope Francis said that homosexual acts are not a crime and people who criminalise the same are wrong, Agence France-Presse reported.
In an interview earlier, Pope had said that homosexuality is not a 'crime' but a 'sin', explained in a letter published on Saturday that people should not criminalise homosexual activities since it is not a crime.
In the letter addressed to a Jesuit priest, he explained that when he said it was a sin, he was referring to Catholic moral teaching, which says that every sexual act outside marriage is a sin.
The Pope was responding to a letter from US priest James Martin. The latter had sought clarity on the Pope's comments, which he made during an interview with the Associated Press.
AFP reports that the subject of homosexuality has created a rift in the Catholic Church between modernisers and conservatives.
Pope Francis has come to the spotlight of controversies since he was appointed as Pope in 2013. He takes a relatively liberal attitude towards sexual orientation.
The Pope wrote that he would tell anyone who wanted to criminalise homosexuality that they were wrong. When he said sin, he was simply referring to Catholic moral teaching, he said.
"Of course, one must also consider the circumstances, which may decrease or eliminate the fault. As you can see, I was repeating something in general. I should have said, 'It is a sin, as is any sexual act outside of marriage," AFP quoted the Pope.
Though Pope Francis often accommodated gay people and advised that the community must be provided benevolent reception within Church, he firmly stayed in line with Catholic teaching on marriage.