Pope Francis Addresses Controversy Over Same-Sex Blessings in Africa

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VATICAN CITY, Jan 29 – Pope Francis, in an interview published on Monday, discussed the evolving perspectives on same-sex blessings within the Catholic Church. Acknowledging opposition, especially from African bishops, he referred to Africans as a “special case,” emphasizing cultural differences in their view of homosexuality.

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While expressing confidence that critics, excluding Africans, would eventually understand the decision to permit blessings for same-sex couples, the Pope stated, “A special case are Africans: for them homosexuality is something ‘bad’ from a cultural point of view, they don’t tolerate it.”

The Pope defended the recently issued document, Fiducia Supplicans (Supplicating Trust), which allowed blessings for same-sex couples. He attributed strong opposition to “small ideological groups” and emphasized the document’s inclusive intent.

Last week, Francis acknowledged the resistance, particularly in Africa, where the document faces rejection by bishops. In some African countries, same-sex relationships can lead to severe legal consequences, including imprisonment or the death penalty.

Addressing concerns about potential conservative schisms, Pope Francis expressed a dismissive attitude, stating, “We must leave them to it and move on…and look forward.”

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he asserted that true peace would only materialize with the implementation of a two-state solution, expressing lamentation over the widening conflict.

Regarding his health, the 87-year-old Pope acknowledged some “aches and pains” but reassured that he is in better condition now, stating, “there are some aches and pains, but it’s better now, I’m fine.”

Looking ahead, Pope Francis outlined his agenda for 2024, which includes planned trips to Belgium, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia. Additionally, he confirmed a scheduled meeting with the president of his native Argentina, Javier Milei, on Feb. 11, considering a possible return to the country where he has not visited since becoming pope in 2013.

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