Pope Francis’ new Spanish Cardinal, Fernando Sebastián Aguilar, told a Spanish newspaper Monday that homosexuality is a physical defect that can be cured, like “high blood pressure.”
Aguilar, the archbishop emeritus of the northern city of Pamploma, was named as one of 19 new cardinals chosen by Francis. They expect to be appointed on Feb. 22.
"A lot of people complain and don't tolerate it but with all respect I say that homosexuality is a defective way of manifesting sexuality, because that has a structure and a purpose, which is procreation," 84-year-old Archbishop Aguilar told the newspaper Sur.
"We have a lot of defects in our bodies. I have high blood pressure. Am I going to get angry because they tell me that? It is a defect I have that I have to correct as far as I can," he continued.
He said it is not offensive to call homosexuality a defect because many “cases of homosexuality can be recovered and normalized with adequate treatment,” the Herald Sun reported.
"These are not the winds of change that appear to be blowing from the Vatican,” said Spanish left-wing politician Maria Gamez. "Pope Francis seemed to have distanced himself from these retrograde, insulting and anti constitutional theses. He should be asking himself whether a cardinal like this is helping the regeneration he defends."
The gay and lesbian rights group Colegas has asked the archbishop to retract his statement.
"We hope that Fernando Sebastian will correct his words and we note that homosexuality is not a curable disease, but homophobia is," the group said in a statement.
Aguilar doesn’t appear to share the Pope’s inclusive attitude towards homosexuality.
Pope Francis stunned the public last July when he said, "If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?"
Aguilar says the Pope hasn’t changed the Church’s attitude towards homosexuality,
"It is one thing to show welcome and affection to a homosexual person and another to morally justify the exercise of homosexuality," Aguilar said.