The former Pope Benedict XVI has called same-sex marriage a product of the Antichrist and said society has become so hostile to Christian doctrine that it will shun anyone who opposes equal marriage rights.
The statement comes in a new authorized biography of Benedict by German journalist Peter Seewald. Titled Benedict XVI: The Biography: Volume One, it came out Monday in Germany, the former pope’s native country.
The quote is from an interview Benedict did with Seewald, his frequent collaborator, in 2018. “One hundred years ago, everybody would have considered it to be absurd to speak of a homosexual marriage. Today, one is being excommunicated by society if one opposes it,” he said, according to a translation published in PinkNews.
Also condemning abortion and assisted reproduction, Benedict added, “The fear of this spiritual power of the Antichrist is then only more than natural, and it really needs the help of prayers on the part of an entire diocese and of the Universal Church in order to resist it.”
Benedict was pope from 2005 until 2013. When he resigned, it marked the first time in 600 years a pope had stepped down instead of serving until death.
Before becoming pope, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he headed the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for 24 years. In that position and as pope, he took a hard-line stance against any advances toward LGBTQ equality. He called homosexuality an “intrinsic moral evil” and said pro-gay groups promote “deceitful propaganda.” In the 1980s, his antigay dogma led many Catholic churches to close their doors to the LGBTQ Catholic group Dignity.
Benedict’s public pronouncements were in stark contrast to the more conciliatory tone adopted by his successor, Pope Francis, although none of the church’s anti-LGBTQ doctrine has changed under Francis. The church considers same-sex relationships a sin and gender fixed at birth.
Spanish and English versions of the biography are scheduled to be available this fall, according to news website Rome Reports.