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Vatican archbishop backtracks on pro-gay comments

Vatican archbishop backtracks on pro-gay comments

A leading Vatican archbishop has backtracked on his pro-gay comments, reaffirming his support for British and French bishops slamming marriage equality efforts.

On 4 February, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, said nations could find ‘private law solutions’ to protect the rights of unmarried straight and gay couples.

He also said the church should support the repeal of laws that criminalize homosexuality in various countries.

Saying gay people ‘have the same dignity as of all of God’s children’, he said: ‘In the world there are 20 or 25 countries where homosexuality is a crime.

‘I would like the church to fight against all this.’

But now, in an interview on Vatican Radio, Paglia said he was ‘very surprised’ by the way he words had been reported.

‘Not only were the words not understood… but in truth, and perhaps knowingly, they were, as it were, derailed,’ he said.

For the archbishop, approving of laws protecting unmarried couples is ‘completely different from supporting same-sex marriage.

‘The church must defend the truth, and the truth is that a marriage is only between a man and a woman,’ he said. Other kinds of ‘affections’ cannot be the foundation for a ‘public structure’ such as marriage.

‘We cannot surrender to a sick egalitarianism that abolishes every difference,’ he warned.

Paglia’s comments follow Pope Benedict XVI’s New Year’s Day speech where he said gay people were a threat to justice and world peace.