According to Reuters, Pope Francis expressed confidence that his critics would eventually come to understand his recent decision to allow blessings for same-sex couples.
However, he noted that Africans may be a “special case” and may not be as receptive to this change.
The Pope stated that he trusted that the Fiducia Supplicans declaration, issued by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, would gradually reassure everyone and promote inclusivity within the Catholic Church.
This decision has sparked considerable discussion within the Church, with African bishops expressing strong resistance.
“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”.