This is the way in which Associated Press reported Pope Francis' remarks about homosexuality in his recent interview:
Pope Francis has stepped up his criticism of discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community. He called laws criminalising homosexuals unjust but reiterated Catholic Church teaching that homosexual activity is sinful.
Bantering with himself, Francis articulated the position: "It's not a crime. Yes, but it's a sin. Fine, but first let's distinguish between a sin and a crime".
A fuller discussion of his remarks in the interview were reported here by Associated Press: The AP Interview: Pope says homosexuality not a crime.
Pope Francis has since replied, in the form of a letter, to three questions that were asked of him by Fr James Martin SJ. The exchange is reported on Fr Martin's website: Pope Francis clarifies comments on homosexuality: "One must consider the circumstances".
I think that it has been very easy to misunderstand Pope Francis' previous exchanges of correspondence with Fr Martin, and in one respect this latest letter removes some of the cause for that misunderstanding. Pope Francis' letters have offered support for a ministry of closeness, without any suggestion that this should represent a change in Catholic teaching. America reports one such letter in August 2021. It is worth reading what it says carefully:
I want to thank you for your pastoral zeal and your ability to be close to people, with that closeness that Jesus had and that reflects the closeness of God. Our Heavenly Father approaches with love every one of his children, each and everyone. His heart is to open to each and everyone. He is Father. God's "style" has three aspects: closeness, compassion and tenderness. This is how he draws closer to each one of us.
Thinking about your pastoral work, I see that you are continuously looking to imitate this style of God...
When Rocco Buttiglione was proposed as a candidate to be a commissioner in the European Union in 2004, the question of the sinfulness of homosexual acts in relation to political action arose in a slightly different way. Rocco Buttiglione explained his stance during the hearing in advance of the appointment being made as follows (see my post here):
They introduced the category of sin into the political discourse, and I said "No, in politics we may not speak of sin. We should speak of non-discrimination, and I am solidly opposed to discrimination against homosexuals, or any type of discrimination." I did not say that homosexuality is a sin, as many newspapers reported. I said, "I may think." It is possible that I think this, but I did not tell them whether I think it or not. What I think about this has no impact whatsoever on politics, because in politics the problem is the principle concerning discrimination and I accept that principle.
That was not enough. They wanted me to say that I see nothing objectionable about homosexuality. This I cannot do because it is not what I think. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church it is written that, from a moral point of view, homosexuality is not a sin but rather an objectively disordered condition. Homosexuality can become a sin if one adds the subjective element, which is to say, full knowledge that this is wrong and also freedom of the will which accepts this wrong position. I was not allowed to say that and for this reason I was deemed not worthy to be a European commissioner.
In different contexts, Pope Francis and Rocco Buttiglione are sending the same message.