With the exception of Africans, who are “a special case,” Catholic Pope Francis says he is certain that those who have criticized his recent decision to permit blessings for same-sex couples would eventually come to appreciate it.

He expressed his hope that the spirit of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith’s “Fiducia Supplicans” declaration—which seeks to include rather than divide—would eventually reassure everyone.

ZINGTIE reminds readers that last month, a document known as the Fiducia Supplicans (Supplicating Trust) permitted blessings for same-sex couples.

The Catholic Church has been divided over the issue, with African bishops expressing the strongest opposition.

“Those who protest vehemently belong to small ideological groups,” Francis told the Italian newspaper La Stampa, adding that “A special case is 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.

Pope Francis seemed to recognize last week the backlash the text caused, particularly in Africa, where bishops have essentially rejected it and where engaging in same-sex activities can result in jail time or even the death penalty.

Nonetheless, he said that priests should “naturally take into account the context, the sensitivities, the places where one lives and the most appropriate ways to do it” when bestowing blessings.

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