A senior Catholic cardinal has called gay couples who wish to have children “irresponsible” and said they are undermining traditional families.
Speaking at a meeting of bishops in Italy, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco claimed that all children “have a right to a mother and a father” and that same-sex parents “weaken the family by creating new forms”.
He added that gay marriage “only confuses people and has the effect of being a sort of Trojan horse, undermining culturally and socially the core of humanity”.
The traditional family is “the stronghold of our country: the charitable, moral and material net that protects people from feeling abandoned and alone”, he said.
These comments come not long after controversy surrounding gay marriage in Italy. The Mayor of Rome defied the national ban on same-sex marriage by registering 16 gay couples who had married in other countries. The move was condemned by politicians and religious leaders alike.
Additionally, the Pope held the Synod of Bishops earlier this year to discuss the church’s response to issues like gay marriage, divorce and remarriage.
Pope Francis has courted controversy since his election by appearing to soften the position of the Catholic Church on such matters. He famously said of gay people: “Who am I to judge?” when questioned by the press in 2013.
Despite social attitudes regarding same-sex marriage progressing very rapidly, there are still a number of public figures who are extremely resistant to its acceptance. Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy called it “humiliating” in his first television interview since his return to national politics.