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Stop homosexuality, says Pope

world Updated: Dec 24, 2008 10:29 IST

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The pope has said that “saving” humanity from homosexual behaviour is just as important as saving the rainforests, a comment likely to provoke a furious reaction from homosexual groups.

Pope Benedict, who acquired a reputation as a hardline, aggressive, doctrine-enforcing cardinal before he was appointed to the Vatican top job, described behaviour beyond traditional heterosexual relations as “a destruction of God’s work”.

The Catholic Church opposes gay marriage. In a clear reference to homosexuality, the 82-year-old pope told top priests that the failure to respect the union between a man and a woman amounted to the “auto destruction of mankind”, Mail online reported on Tuesday. “The tropical forests deserve our protection, but man as a creature deserves it no less,” the pope said in his address to the Curia, the Vatican’s central administration.

The Italian gay rights association Arcigay branded this an “excuse” to distract people from the real intent of criminalising gays.