A Catholic newspaper in the US was forced to apologise for an opinion piece this week which suggested the devil may be “indicted” for homosexuality.

The Pilot based in Boston, Massachusetts, is the oldest Roman Catholic paper in the US and the Boston Diocese’s online paper.

The column, penned by an adviser at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops was entitled “Some fundamental questions on same-sex attraction.”

It said: “Scientific evidence of how same-sex attraction most likely may be created provides a credible basis for a spiritual explanation that indicts the devil.”

The 182-year-old newspaper withdrew Daniel Avila’s column this week and replaced it with the author’s apology.

Mr Avila, an attorney, wrote that the views he expressed “do not represent the position of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the column was not authorized for publication as is required policy for staff of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.”

“The teaching of Sacred Scripture and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church make it clear that all persons are created in the image and likeness of God and have inviolable dignity. Likewise, the Church proclaims the sanctity of marriage as the permanent, faithful, fruitful union of one man and one woman.

“The Church opposes, as I do too, all unjust discrimination and the violence against persons that unjust discrimination inspires. I deeply apologize for the hurt and confusion that this column has caused.”

The gay Catholics group DignityUSA called the original column “outrageous” and said it inflicted “tremendous damage on the souls” of gay people.

It is not the first time this week the devil has been accused of being involved with homosexuality. The founder of anti-gay campaign group Americans for Truth, claimed that his opponents are part of “Satan’s plan”.