Pope Francis has stated that African culture has made people on the region intolerant of blessings for same-sex couples.
The pope also expressed optimism that those who questioned his decision to allow blessings for same-sex couples would eventually grasp it, with the exception of Africans, whom he described as a “special case.”
Pope Francis indicated in an interview published on Monday by the Italian newspaper La Stampa that Africans had a terrible cultural perception of homosexuality.
“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,” he added.
In December, a Vatican document called Fiducia Supplicans (Supplicating Trust), which allowed blessings for same-sex couples, sparked controversy with some African bishops rejecting the move.
However, the Vatican clarified that the blessings should not be included in regular church ceremonies or linked to civil unions or weddings.
It emphasised that it views marriage as between a man and a woman.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria announced that Catholic churches within the country would not perform blessings for same-sex unions.
“That would go against God’s law, the teachings of the Church, the laws of our nation, and the cultural sensibilities of our people,” they said in a statement.