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Italian priest blames earthquakes on gay unions

An Italian priest has said the recent earthquakes that have shaken the country, killing hundreds and leaving tens of thousands homeless, were "divine punishment" for gay civil unions, earning the Vatican's wrath.

Italian priest blames earthquakes on gay unions
Father Giovanni Cavalcoli is known for his hardline views. Photo: Youtube
Father Giovanni Cavalcoli, a theologian known for his hardline views, made the comments on October 30, the day central Italy was struck by a 6.6-magnitude quake — the most powerful to hit the country in 36 years —
according to Italian media.
 
It was the third major quake in the same region in just over two months.
   
Cavalcoli said on Radio Maria that the seismic shocks were “divine punishment” for “the offence to the family and the dignity of marriage, in particular through civil unions”.
   
The radio station distanced itself from his views and late Friday the Vatican issued a stinging rebuke, saying the idea of a vengeful God was “a pagan vision” dating from “the pre-Christian era”.
   
Archbishop Angelo Becciu, number two in the Vatican's powerful Secretariat of State, said Cavalcoli's comments were “offensive to believers and disgraceful for non-believers”, in remarks reported by Italian media.
   
Becciu asked for forgiveness from quake victims and reminded them they had the “solidarity and support” of Pope Francis.
 
But Cavalcoli has refused to back down, insisting to another radio station that earthquakes are indeed caused by “the sins of man” and telling the Vatican to “read their catechism”.
   
Legislation allowing gay civil unions in Italy only took effect last month, making it the last country in Western Europe to legally recognise same-sex relationships.
 
 

EARTHQUAKES

UPDATE: Earthquake hits Swiss canton of Valais

An earthquake which registered 4.1 on the Richter scale shook parts of the Swiss canton on Tuesday. This is what we know so far.

The 4.1-scale earthquake struck some areas of Valais and was felt also in the Rhône Valley.
Residents of the Rhône Valley might have felt the jolt that hit the Arolla area. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Material damages of yet unspecified amount but no victims are reported in the aftermath of the earthquake that jolted the area near Arolla, at the foot of the Val d’Hérens, Tuesday around 7:40 am.  

The earthquake was “largely felt” in  parts of the Rhône Valley, from Villeneuve to Brig, as well as in the neighbouring valleys, according to Swiss Seismological Service (SED).

A aftershock occurred about half an hour later, but was weaker than the first, measuring 1.8 on the Richter scale.

Seismic activity is common in Switzerland, although most of it goes unnoticed by the population.

Valais is the canton with the highest earthquake risk, followed by Basel and Graubünden. 

 

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