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In his first interview since the death of former Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis spoke about his health, his critics and the future of the papacy.
He also criticized laws that criminalize homosexuality as unfair.
Pope Francis told The Associated Press that although Catholic teaching considers homosexual acts a “sin”, being homosexual is not a “crime”. He stressed the need to distinguish between the two and said, for example, that lack of charity towards one another is also a sin. He added that the Catholic Church should work to end laws in some countries that criminalize homosexuality.
Asked about his condition, the 86-year-old said: “I’m healthy for my age. I’m normal.”
A knee condition has forced the pope to use a wheelchair in recent months.
Asked about the wave of criticism against him from conservative cardinals and bishops after Benedict’s death, Francis acknowledged the knives were out, but he appeared unfazed.
He said it was nasty, but better than keeping it a secret.
This story originally appeared in NPR’s Newscast.