African Catholics exempted from blessing same-sex couples: Pope

ROME- Pope Francis says African Catholics are exempted from blessing same-sex marriage because their culture does not tolerate homosexuality, describing Africans as a “special case.”

Mr Fancis disclosed this in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa published on Monday.

“Those who protest vehemently belong to small ideological groups. A special case are (sic) Africans: for them, homosexuality is something ‘bad’ from a cultural point of view, they don’t tolerate it,” Mr Francis said.

The pope, however, said everyone would appreciate the idea of blessing same-sex marriage as contained in “Fiducia supplicans.”

“But in general, I trust that gradually everyone will be reassured by the spirit of the ‘Fiducia supplicans’ declaration of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith: it aims to include, not divide. He invites us to welcome and then entrust people and ourselves to God,” Mr Francis said.

The pope’s stance comes in the wake of opposition that followed “Fiducia supplicans,” a document from the Vatican, allowing blessing for same-sex marriage. 

Asked if he fears “schism,” possibly breaking from the Catholic fold by those who share opposing views, Mr Francis said it is normal for small groups to express themselves.

“No. Always, in the church, there have been small groups that expressed schismatic reflections… we must let them do their thing and pass… and look forward,” Mr Francis said.

In December, Mr Francis said priests can now bless same-sex relationships as part of efforts to open up the church to members of the LGBTQ community.

Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernandez announced the new declaration after it was endorsed by the pope, now allowing same-sex couples to receive blessing from the church but maintaining approval is not to amend “the traditional doctrine of the church about marriage.”

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