An Italian priest has blamed the country’s earthquakes, which have killed hundreds and left thousands homeless, on gay civil partnerships.

Father Giovanni Cavalcoli said the seismic shocks were “divine punishment” for same-sex civil unions “offending the family” and the “dignity of marriage”.

A Catholic station, Radio Maria, reported that he said: “From a theological point of view, these disasters are the result of original sin…We are in the presence of a divine punishment and a strong call to refind the principles of natural law…you can certainly think that the earthquake was a punishment for the sins of man…and two men together represents a sin against nature.

“Of course you have to understand well what is meant by punishment.”

Asked specifically if the earthquakes were a punishment from God for the legalisation of gay unions, Cavalcoli replied: “Yes, it can happen that way.”

The controversial comments have now sparked the fury of the Vatican who have moved quickly to refute the outspoken views voiced by theologian Father Giovanni Cavalcoli.

Central Italy was struck by a 6.6-magnitude quake – the most powerful to hit the country in 36 years.

The earthquake was the third to rock the same region in just over two months.

Archbishop Angelo Becciu, Home Affairs Minister at the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, said Cavalcoli’s comments were “offensive to believers and disgraceful for non-believers”, in remarks reported by Italian media.

However, Cavalcoli refused to back down, insisting to another radio station that earthquakes were caused by “the sins of man” and telling the Vatican to “read their catechism”.

 

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