Earthquakes in Italy ‘God’s punishment’ for same sex unions

Vatican condemns priest who blamed same sex civil unions for earthquakes

Firemen work to recover historical objects from Basilica di San Benedetto collapsed after an earthquake in Norcia, Italy, November 5th, 2016. Photograph: Pietro Crocchioni/EPA

Firemen work to recover historical objects from Basilica di San Benedetto collapsed after an earthquake in Norcia, Italy, November 5th, 2016. Photograph: Pietro Crocchioni/EPA

 

The Vatican has condemned the views of a Dominican friar who earlier this week suggested that the earthquakes which hit Italy this summer were “God’s punishment” for the enactment of same sex Civil Union legislation in Italy in May this year.

Contacted by drive time radio show, La Zanzara, Dominican Father Giovanni Cavalcoli was asked about comments he made last weekend on the Catholic radio station, Radio Maria, claiming that the earthquake was a manifestation of God’s wrath:

“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 refind 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...”, said Fr Cavalcoli

Asked specifically if the earthquakes were a punishment from God for the legalisation of gay unions, Fr Cavalcoli replied, “Yes, it can happen that way”.

Fr Cavacoli’s comments were promptly condemned by Cardinal Angelo Becciu, the “Sostituto” or Home Affairs Minister at the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, who 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”.

Cardinal Becciu went on to call on Radio Maria, well known for its fundamentalist, conservative Catholic views, to “correct the tone of its language” adding:

“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”

Curiously, this is the second time in the last month that a public figure has suggested that this year’s earthquakes in Italy might be interpreted as some sort of “divine punishment”. Last week, deputy Israeli foreign minister Ayoub Kara suggested that the earthquakes were divine punishment for Italy’s abstention on a controversial UNESCO resolution regarding the status of Jerusalem’s holy sites.

UNESCO adopted a resolution on October 13th that reaffirmed Jerusalem’s status as a World Heritage site important to all three Abrahamic religions, but did not include the Hebrew or Jewish names for the sites known in Judaism as The Temple Mount and in Islam as The Noble Sanctuary. On the day that the resolution was being passed, powerful aftershocks were shaking central Italy, prompting the deputy minister’s remarks.

“I am sure that the earthquake happened because of UNESCO’s decision that the Pope really didn’t love...”, Mr Ayoub was quoted in Israeli media as saying.

Like the Vatican with the Dominican Father, the Israeli Foreign Ministry promptly distanced itself from his comments, whilst Mr Kara has since apologised for his remarks.