Pope Francis says sex outside of marriage is not the ‘most serious sin’

On Monday, Pope Francis, leader of the Catholic Church, said that sex outside of marriage is not the “most serious sin.”

During a question and answer session on a flight back to Italy from Greece with reporters, the Pope said: “Sins of the flesh are not the most serious.” 

The Pope instead claimed that pride and hatred comprise “the most serious” of sins. He was asked about the resignation of Michel Aupetit, the Archbishop of Paris, who stepped down earlier this month after a French magazine alleged that he had an intimate relationship with a woman. Archbishops and high members of the Catholic Church generally follow clerical celibacy, so they abstain from sex. 

“I poorly handled the situation with a person who was in contact many times with me,” said the Archbishop, who denied the affair. The Pope accepted the resignation and said, “It was a failing on his part, a failing against the sixth commandment, but not a total one.”

The sixth commandment says “you shall not commit adultery,” which speaks to people having sex outside of their marriages, but the Pope said it could also apply to priests who do not stay celibate. 

The Pope said during the flight that he removed the Archbishop due to “gossip.” He added, “We’re all sinners. When the gossip grows and grows and removes someone’s good name, he cannot govern. This is an injustice. That’s why I accepted the resignation of Aupetit: not on the altar of truth but on the altar of hypocricy.”

While he was in Greece, the Pope also encouraged the younger generation to resist temptation by the consumerist “sirens” of today. “Today’s sirens want to charm you with seductive and insistent messges that focus on easy gains, the false needs of consumerism, the cult of physical wellness, of entertainment at all costs,” he said. “All these are like fireworks: they flare up for a moment, but then turn to smoke in the air.” 




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