Father Giovanni Cavalcoli says God is punishing Italy for legalising gay civil unions.
A priest in Italy claims the recent spate of earthquakes in the country were “divine punishment” for same-sex civil unions.
The earthquakes have killed hundreds across Italy – leaving thousands more homeless – and are seen as one of the worst natural disasters to hit Europe in recent times.
Despite this, Father Giovanni Cavalcoli claims the earthquakes have little to do with nature, claiming the seismic shocks were in fact “divine punishment”.
Cavalcoli said the earthquakes were God’s reaction to “the offence to the family and the dignity of marriage, in particular through civil unions”.
The priest tactfully made the comments on October 30 – the day central Italy was struck by a 6.6-magnitude quake, the most powerful to hit the country in nearly 40 years.
Legislation allowing same-sex civil unions in Italy only passed last month – making it the last country in Western Europe to legally recognise same-sex relationships.
The Vatican was quick to criticise Cavalcoli’s comments, with Archbishop Angelo Becciu saying they were “offensive to believers and disgraceful for non-believers”.
Becciu begged for forgiveness from victims of the earthquake and reminded them they had the “solidarity and support” of Pope Francis.
Ignoring the Vatican’s rebuke, Cavalcoli later insisted that earthquakes are indeed caused by “the sins of man”, telling the Vatican to “read their catechism”.
Unsurprisingly, Cavalcoli is not the first anti-gay public figure to blame natural disasters on same-sex rights.
Tony Perkins – president of the anti-gay Christian group Family Research Council – repeatedly blamed legalisation of same-sex marriage for hurricanes across US.
However, in an example of true irony, Perkins revealed earlier this year that his own home has been destroyed in a flood “of near biblical proportions.”
Maybe Father Cavalcoli should rethink his approach…