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"Punishment for promoting deviancy". Conservative Catholics question human rights
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Pope Francis: LGBT individuals are welcomed in the church, but under one condition. "Everyone discovers God in their own way"

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Materiały Prasowe,
08.12.2023 15:15

Pope Francis stated on the plane that transported him to the Vatican that the Catholic Church is open to all, including members of the gay community, whom it has the duty to accompany on their personal spiritual journey, albeit within its own rules.

Addressing the reporters present on the aircraft, Pope Francis also mentioned that his health is in good condition after the abdominal hernia surgery he underwent in June.

The pontiff mentioned that his stitches have been removed, but he needs to wear an abdominal belt for another two or three months until his muscles strengthen.

The 86-year-old pontiff, returning from the Catholic World Youth Day festival held in Portugal, seemed to be in good shape. He answered journalists' questions for about 30 minutes during his customary press conference following his journey, while standing in front of the reporters' area at the back of the plane.

One of the reporters reminded him that during his apostolic journey, the pontiff had said that the Church is open to "everyone, everyone, everyone" and asked if it's not somehow illogical that some people, such as women and gay individuals, do not have the same rights and access to certain church sacraments.

"Each person discovers God in their own way within the Church"

The question was likely a reference to women, who are not allowed to become priests through the sacrament of ordination and to same-sex couples, who do not have access to the sacrament of marriage.

"The Church is open to everyone, but there are laws that govern life within the Church", he said.

"According to the legislation, they cannot participate in (some) sacraments. However, this doesn't mean it's closed. Each person discovers God in their own way within the Church", he said.

The pontiff further noted that the Church's priests must stand alongside all individuals, even those who don't conform to the rules, with the patience and love of a mother.

According to the teachings of the Church, women cannot become priests because Jesus chose only men as his apostles.

The Church does not permit same-sex marriage and does not bless such couples. However, Pope Francis supports civil legislation that grants rights to same-sex couples in areas such as pensions, health insurance and inheritance rights.

According to the Church, attraction to people of the same sex is not a sin, but homosexual acts are.

Since the start of his pontificate, Pope Francis has attempted to make the Church a more welcoming and less condemning institution, including towards LGBT community members, without altering the teachings that encourage those who experience same-sex attraction to abide by the law of chastity.

During an event in Portugal, Pope Francis declared to the audience that the Church is open to everyone, "including those who make mistakes, sin or face problems", and as a result, the crowd chanted "Todos, todos, todos!" ("Everyone, everyone, everyone!").

During the press conference, referring to young people, the pope said, "Who among us has not committed a moral error at a certain point in their life?"

1.5 million people attended the service officiated by Pope Francis

Pope Francis has implemented a series of reforms since assuming the pontificate ten years ago, including granting additional roles to women, particularly in high-ranking positions at the Vatican. He has sought to strike a delicate balance between addressing more liberal believers and not upsetting conservatives.

While on the aircraft, the pope also mentioned feeling rejuvenated by what he witnessed at the Catholic World Youth Day festival in Portugal, by the organized behavior of the crowd and the number of participants.

Approximately 1.5 million people attended the closing service of the event, held on Sunday in a park in the capital of Portugal.

After taking part in an evening prayer service on Saturday, many faithful slept outside and then gathered amidst stifling heat.

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