Pope Francis has said that African culture is making people on the continent intolerant of blessings for same-sex couples.
The pope also expressed confidence that those who criticised his decision to allow blessings for same-sex couples would come to understand it over time, except for Africans, whom he referred to as a “special case.”
In an interview published by Italian newspaper, La Stampa, on Monday, Pope Francis stated that Africans perceived homosexuality negatively from a cultural perspective.
“Those who protest vehemently belong to small ideological groups. A special case is Africans: for them, homosexuality is something bad from a cultural point of view, they don’t tolerate it,” he said when asked about the controversy trailing blessings for same-sex couples.
“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,” he added.
In December, a Vatican document called Fiducia Supplicans (Supplicating Trust), which allowed blessings for same-sex couples, sparked controversy with some African bishops rejecting the move.
However, the Vatican clarified that the blessings should not be included in regular church ceremonies or linked to civil unions or weddings.
It emphasised that it views marriage as between a man and a woman.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria announced that Catholic churches within the country would not perform blessings for same-sex unions.
“That would go against God’s law, the teachings of the Church, the laws of our nation, and the cultural sensibilities of our people,” they said in a statement.