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Be careful where you bless same-sex couples; Africans don't accept it - Pope

Pope Francis has expressed confidence that critics of his decision to allow blessings for same-sex couples would eventually understand it, with the exception of Africans, whom he referred to as a "special case."

Pope Francis.Vatican Media via Vatican Pool/Getty Images

The controversial move, sanctioned in December 2023 through a document titled 'Fiducia Supplicans' (Supplicating Trust), has sparked intense debates within the Catholic Church, with notable resistance emerging from African bishops.

Speaking to Italian newspaper La Stampa, Pope Francis addressed the cultural perspective in Africa, stating, "Africans consider LGBT as bad for them from a cultural point of view. They don't tolerate it." Despite this, he expressed confidence that, over time, individuals worldwide would come to accept the decision.

"Those who protest vehemently belong to small ideological groups. A special case are Africans: for them, homosexuality is something 'bad' from a cultural point of view, they don't tolerate it," the Pope emphasized. "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."

Acknowledging the pushback, especially in Africa, where same-sex relationships can lead to severe legal consequences, Pope Francis highlighted the need for priests to consider the context, sensitivities, and appropriate ways to administer the blessings.


Last week, the pontiff acknowledged the resistance to the document, particularly in Africa, where bishops effectively rejected it. In response, he urged priests to "naturally take into account the context, the sensitivities, the places where one lives and the most appropriate ways to do it."

Addressing concerns about a potential split within the Catholic Church due to his reforms, Pope Francis dismissed the idea, stating, "We must leave them to it and move on… and look forward."

He expressed confidence that any talk of a split was driven by "small groups" and emphasized the Church's commitment to inclusivity rather than division.


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