Pope Francis just dropped the ultimate “hate the sin, love the sinner” while clarifying his views on homosexuality in an interview with The Associated Press. “We are all children of God, and God loves us as we are and for the strength that each of us fights for our dignity,” he said.

The Catholic Church evolves

As of now, the official position of the Catholic Church is one of acceptance, regardless of its feelings on the sinfulness of gay sexual acts. Pope Francis reiterated this position during his interview.

However, he focused more on the idea that Catholic churches around the world, including those in the 67 countries where homosexuality is a crime, should open their doors to the LGBTQ+ community “with tenderness.” Conversely, the Catholic Church refuses to bless same-sex unions. “God cannot bless sin,” he said.

Pope Francis did espouse decidedly mixed messages on the topic of homosexuality. However, they’re still a far cry from previous eras in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has taken this position on homosexuality since at least the 1980s. However, the Church did ask its homosexual followers to engage in celibacy.

Pope Francis did still refer to homosexuality as “intrinsically disordered” in the interview. But he once again clarified the “distinction” when it comes to discussing the difference “between sin and crime.”

With regard to sin, Pope Francis took a moment to remind his fellow Catholics, “It’s also a sin to lack charity with one another, so what about that?” Currently, more than 12 states in the US have anti-sodomy laws. Those laws exist in spite of a 2003 Supreme Court ruling denouncing them as “unconstitutional.”

Still, Pope Francis has some reservations

However, Pope Francis explained there’s a limit to his acceptance of homosexuality. In the same interview, he denounced a German movement known as the Synodal Way. The movement calls for major reforms within the Catholic Church.

Among those reforms is the ability to bless same-sex unions and ordain women as priests. Pope Francis labeled the movement as “ideological” while failing to include “all the people of God.” He added, “When ideology gets involved in [C]hurch processes, the Holy Spirit goes home, because ideology overcomes the Holy Spirit.”

The Pope’s main concern is unity within the Catholic Church. The Synodal Way, he says, “does not help.” Regardless, Pope Francis made it clear he prioritizes “the dignity of every human person.”