In a recent interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa, Pope Francis addressed the controversy surrounding his approval of same-sex blessings for LGBTQ couples last month, acknowledging the particular challenges faced in Africa.
The pope stated that Africans are a “special case” when it comes to accepting queer persons due to cultural differences. The Vatican’s decision, outlined in the document “Fiducia supplicans,” sparked intense debate within the Catholic Church, with notable resistance coming from African bishops.
The pope expressed optimism that, over time, acceptance would grow, stating, “But in general, I trust that gradually everyone will reassure themselves on the spirit of the ‘Fiducia supplicans’ statement of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith: it wants to include, not divide. He invites people to welcome and then entrust people, and entrust themselves, to God.”
Responding to concerns about a potential split within the Church due to these developments, Pope Francis downplayed the issue, mentioning that there were “small groups that manifested reflections of schismatic color” within the Church. He suggested letting go of such divisions and focusing on moving forward.
On a personal note, when asked about his recent health challenges, the 87-year-old pontiff acknowledged some aches and pains but reassured that he is currently doing well. Despite hospitalizations, mobility issues, and canceled trips, Pope Francis remains steadfast in his role as the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church.