South Sudan declares homosexuality ‘criminal’

South Sudan government said Friday that homosexuality is “a constitutional crime” and that it will tell Pope Francis when he arrives in the country next week “no” to homosexuality if he is to open it.

Pope Francis is visiting South Sudan on Friday and will discuss the country’s slow peace process with the leaders. He will be received by President Salva Kiir and his first deputy as well as foreign diplomats at Juba airport and will go directly to the presidency for a meeting.

In an exclusive interview with correspondents on Thursday, Pope Francis criticizing laws around the world that criminalize homosexually saying it “being homosexual isn’t a crime” but “a sin” and called on Catholic bishops who support the laws to welcome LGBTQ people into the church.

Speaking following a cabinet meeting chaired by President Kiir on Friday, information minister Michael Makuei Lueth said Pope Francis is not coming to discuss the matter, but the government will respond with “no” should he open it.

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“If he (Pope Francis) is coming here and he tells us that marriage of the same sex, homosexuality is legal, we will say no. But this is not what he is coming for,” Makuei who is also the government spokesman told reporters.

“God was not mistaken. He created man and woman and he told them to marry one another and go and fill the world. Do same-sex partners give birth?” Makuei asked.

“Our constitution is very clear and says marriage is between the opposite sex and any same-sex marriage is a crime, is a constitutional crime.”

The senior government official further said that further said the main objective of Francis’ visit is to preach peace.

“He is coming to bless us so that we change our behaviors because at times we behave abnormally. So, he is coming here to pray for us so that peace prevails in South Sudan. The coming of the Pope is a historical event and it has never happened in the world that the three churches came together except when President Kiir and Dr. Machar and the rest went to the Vatican,” he added.

“These three (The Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Portal Welby, and Rt. Rev Dr. Iain Greenshields, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland) were in Rome when our leaders went there and now they are coming together and it means there is something special about South Sudan,” he added.











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