Fr Giovanni Cavalcoli
A Catholic priest says that the recent earthquakes in Italy are God’s punishment for allowing same-sex civil unions.
Speaking to Radio Maria on 30 October, the day of a 6.6-magnitude quake, Fr Giovanni Cavalcoli stated that the disaster was “divine punishment” for “the offence to the family and the dignity of marriage, in particular through civil unions”.
The earthquake was one of three to have struck Italy in the last two months, leaving hundreds dead and thousands without homes.
In May, the country joined other Western European nations in legally recognising same-sex relationships through civil unions, although not embracing full marriage equality.
The Church was quick to distance itself from Cavalcoli’s comments. Senior Archbishop Angelo Becciu, from the Vatican’s secretariat of state, described the statements as “offensive to believers and disgraceful for non-believers”.
He added that, “That is a pagan vision, not a Christian vision,” and asked “the earthquake victims [to] forgive us”.
Cavalcoli has remained firm in his views, telling the Vatican in a follow-up interview to go “read their catechism”.
Despite the Vatican’s rejection of the priest’s hardline position, Cavalcoli’s homophobia has no doubt been bolstered by the official stance on same-sex relationships espoused by the Church and Pope Francis.
While Francis has hinted at a willingness to be more accepting of gay people he remains opposed to same-sex relationships and especially gay marriage, describing these as threats to the family. The church has campaigned in a number of countries in a bid to stop the spread of marriage equality.
According to Catholic dogma, gay sexuality is defined as “acts of grave depravity”, as “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to the natural law”.