(FiveNation.com)- A Catholic “civil war” is brewing as Pope Francis condemned gay marriage bans, according to Newsweek. Francis took his strongest position around the social issue which indicates that the church might be beginning to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.
During an interview with the Associated Press, Francis said that it is not a crime to be gay. Although he said that it was a sin, he was praised by those who saw the comments as the first step toward the church’s acceptance of LGBTQ people. James Martin, the editor of the Jesuit “America Magazine” called the comments an “immense step.”
Francis also said that the church should do its part to begin working to end laws that criminalize gay people. He acknowledged bishops in the church who look down on gay people but suggested that they undergo a “process of conversion” to learn how to treat all people with tenderness.
The pope’s comments came as the late Pope Benedict XVI posthumously released a book of essays that focus on his philosophy surrounding these issues. Archbishop Georg Ganswein has also recently published a memoir in which he writes of a sit-down between himself and Benedict. The two reportedly discussed Francis’ abandonment of the traditions of the church, which includes his stance toward gay marriage, divorce, and moving away from Latin Mass.
Pope Head, a conservative Christian columnist, agreed with the idea that there is a civil war going on in the Catholic Church, saying that Europe would be in a war right now if a pope had made these comments 400 years ago.
He also questioned whether Francis was a legitimate pope.
Pope Francis was also met with criticism from those who support the LGBTQ+ community. University of New Hampshire sociologist Michele Dillon said that his comments that being gay was a sin caused “a lot of anguish.”