Spanish prosecutors have opened an investigation into newly chosen Cardinal-desginate Fernando Sebastian Aguilar after a homosexual-rights group accused him of hate speech for calling homosexuality a “defect”.
AFP reports that the public prosecutor for the southern province of Malaga, Juan Carlos Lopez, had opened a preliminary inquiry “to clarify whether the allegations constitute a criminal offence.”
Cardinal-designate Sebastian is one of 19 new prelates Pope Francis has named to be elevated to the College of Cardinals at a consistory on February 22.
The 84-year-old archbishop emeritus of Pamplona said in a newspaper interview last month that 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.”
He compared homosexuality to his own high blood pressure — “a defect I have that I have to correct as far as I can”. He added: “Pointing out a defect to a homosexual is not an offence, it is a help because many cases of homosexuality can be recovered and normalised with adequate treatment.”
A Spanish same-sex rights group lodged a complaint against the cardinal-designate, saying he violated the constitution’s guarantees of dignity and non-discrimination and for “clearly inciting hate and discrimination”.
The archdiocese of Malaga condemned the move, saying the archbishop emeritus had not used the word “disease” and accusing his critics of “distorting his words”.