Catholic pontiff Pope Francis says he is confident critics of his recent decision to allow blessings for same-sex couples will eventually understand it, except for Africans who are “a special case”, Reuters reports.
He said he trusted that gradually everyone will be reassured by the spirit of the ‘Fiducia Supplicans’ declaration by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith: it aims to include, not divide.
Recall that blessings for same-sex couples were allowed last month in a document called Fiducia Supplicans (Supplicating Trust).
The development has caused widespread debate in the Catholic Church, with particularly strong resistance coming from African bishops.
“Those who protest vehemently belong to small ideological groups,” Francis told Italian newspaper La Stampa, adding that “A special case are Africans: for them homosexuality is something ‘bad’ from a cultural point of view, they don’t tolerate it.”
“But in general, I trust that gradually everyone will be reassured by the spirit of the ‘Fiducia Supplicans’ declaration by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith: it aims to include, not divide,” the pope continued.
Last week, Pope Francis appeared to acknowledge the pushback the document generated, especially in Africa, where bishops have effectively rejected it and in some countries same-sex activity can lead to prison or even the death penalty.
He, however, stated that when the blessings are given, priests should “naturally take into account the context, the sensitivities, the places where one lives and the most appropriate ways to do it”.