Vatican condemns friar who said earthquakes in Italy were ‘God’s punishment’ for same sex unions

The Vatican has condemned comments that said the earth quakes in Italy were god’s punishment for the country allowing same sex unions.

Dominican Friar Giovanni Cavalcali suggested that the earthquakes which hit Italy this summer were “God’s punishment” for the country legalising same sex civil unions in May this year.

He made the comments on the radio station Radio Maria, a typically conservative Catholic station.

Friar Cavalcoli said: “From a theological point of view, these disasters are the result of original sin.

“We are in the presence of a divine punishment and a strong call to refine the principles of natural law. You can certainly think that the earthquake was a punishment for the sins of man, and two men together represents a sin against nature.”

His comments were swiftly condemned by Cardinal Anelo Becciu, the home affairs minister at the Vatican’s Secretariat of State. He said: “Comments like this are offensive for believers and scandalous for non-believers.

“They go back to pre-Christian times and have nothing to do with Church teaching and are contrary to the vision of God as offered to us by Christ. May the earthquake victims forgive us and to them we extended the solidarity of the Pope.

“Christ has revealed to us the face of a God of love, not a capricious vindictive face. That is a pagan vision, not a Christian vision,” he added.

Cardinal Becciu contacted Radio Maria to correct the tone of the language used by Friar Cavalcoli.

“It (Radio Maria) should conform more to the Gospel and to Pope Francis’ message of mercy and solidarity…The earthquake victims should know that they have the solidarity, sympathy and support of the Pope, the Church and of whoever has even a little bit of heart”

The Civil Union bill passed in the Senate after having the adoption provision removed.

It came about after the European Court of Human Rights upheld complaints of discrimination by same-sex couples, who currently have no legal rights in Italy.

However, it stirred up resentment between the LGBT community and the country’s powerful anti-gay Catholic lobbying groups – with large rallies and political manoeuvring against the measure.