The Pope's new Spanish Cardinal has called homosexuality a physical "defect" that can be cured, it has been reported.
Equating homosexuality to his own high blood pressure, Fernando Sebastián told the Spanish newspaper Diario Sur on Monday that: "Homosexuality is a defective manner of expressing sexuality, because [sex] has a structure and a purpose, which is procreation.
"A homosexual who can't achieve this (procreation) is failing," he said.
He continued: "Our bodies have many defects. I have high blood pressure."
He added that calling homosexuality a defect was "not an insult" but is instead helpful because it is "possible to recover and become normal with the right treatment."
The 85-year-old will take up his post in the Vatican as Spain's newest cardinal in February.
His comments come after Pope Francis was named Person of the Year 2013 by leading gay rights magazine The Advocate after he told Brazilian reporters: "If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?"
Sebastian insisted his views did not contradict the Pope's: "It's one thing to be compassionate towards a homosexual person and another thing to morally justify the practice of that homosexuality," he said.
"You can tell a person what their weakness is but that doesn't justify [a decision] to respect them and help them. I think that's the Pope's position as with gay marriage and divorce," he added.
The Pope's own record on gay rights was marred late last year after the Bishop of Malta said the pontiff was "shocked" by gay adoption in an interview with The Sunday Times of Malta.
Bishop Scicluna said he met with Pope Francis on 12 December, and discussed "many aspects" of the Bishop's Christmas sermon, including questioning the Maltese Civil Unions Bill to legalise gay adoption.
- UK Independent