As Pope Francis begins his tour of South Sudan and Congo, gay rights activists are welcoming him.
Last week, Scaly Kep’na, an activist from Kinshasa, stated that homosexuality is not a crime and spoke out in preparation for his Africa trip.
Francis said that homosexuality laws are unjust and that the Vatican should work to end them. He said, “It must,”
He said that his comments “mark an evolutionary church,” Mr Kep’na stated.
According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association World, there are 64 countries that still criminalize same-sex relationships. Half of these countries are in Africa.
Congo, home to half of the country’s 105 million Catholics, is a major destination for Francis.
The mass at Ndolo airport, Kinshasa’s capital, was expected draw up to two million faithful.
Africa is the only place in the world where the Catholic Church is growing in both the number of people who worship and the number of priests.
In his 10-year pontificate, this is Francis’s fifth visit to the continent. He will remain there until Sunday.
Although it is not clear if he will speak about homosexuality but Julia Mukuala (38), a Congolese activist who is a member of the Pan-Africa ILGA Board welcomed his comments.
She stated, “We believe it will change all the religious people living in our countries that think homosexuality is to be killed, dehumanized, and you are devils.”
Her organization put up a large banner at Kinshasa in support of the Congolese LGBT+ Community. It was decorated with a rainbow flag as well as a welcome message to Pope Francis.
However, not everyone views the Pope’s comments as positive.
“The Holy Father is far away from being a supporter homosexuality,” stated Father Alain Difima of Kinshasa’s Catholic abbots.
He said that the Pope simply wanted to demonstrate that homosexuality can still be practiced in society.
Father Difima said, “It’s his method of giving a chance for a homosexual person who the world views as a criminal.”