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Pope Francis says Africans are 'special case' when it comes to LGBT blessings

Pope Francis said in an interview published on Monday, Jan. 29, that he is confident critics of his decision to allow blessings for same-sex couples will eventually understand it, except for Africans who are a "special case".

According to Reuters, Pope Francis, in an interview with the Italian Newspaper La Stampa, said Africans consider LGBT as bad for them from a cultural point of view.

He added that he was confident that, except for Africans, critics of his decision to allow blessings for same-sex couples would eventually understand it.

Blessings were allowed in Dec. 2023 in a document called Fiducia Supplicans (Supplicating Trust), which has caused widespread debate in the Catholic Church, with particularly strong resistance coming from African bishops.

"Those who protest vehemently belong to small ideological groups," Francis told Italian newspaper La Stampa. "A special case are 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 said.

Last week, Francis appeared to acknowledge the pushback the document received, especially in Africa, where bishops have effectively rejected it and where in some countries same-sex can lead to prison or even the death penalty.

He said that when the blessings are given, priests should "naturally take into account the context, the sensitivities, the places where one lives and the most appropriate ways to do it".

In the interview with La Stampa, Francis said he was not concerned about the risk of conservatives breaking away from the Catholic Church due to his reforms, saying that talk of a split is always led by "small groups.

“We must leave them to it and move on… and look forward,” he said.

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