According to Pope Francis, having sex is “a gift from God” that has to be “disciplined with patience.”
In addition, he issued a warning about pornography, claiming that it may cause addiction and provide “satisfaction without relationships.”.
On Wednesday, the Pope gave a speech to his general audience at the Vatican.
The Pope referred to the speech as “the demon of lust,” and it was one of the sermons he gave on virtues and vices.
The pope declared, “Daily news is enough to document this reality” and added that lust “devastates relationships between people.”
“How many relationships that started out in the best way have later become toxic relationships?” he asked.
The Pope made the comments days after his new head of doctrine, Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernández, came under fire for a book he wrote and published in the late 1990s entitled Mystical Passion: Spirituality and Sensuality.
The book, which is now out of print, discussed human sexuality and provided detailed descriptions of male and female experiences during orgasms.
In an interview with the Catholic online journal Crux, Cardinal Fernández stated that he “certainly would not” publish the book now because he wrote it when he was younger.
The book has drawn criticism from conservative pundits who labeled it “perverse” and claimed Cardinal Fernández was “unfit” to serve as head of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.
It is not the first time that conservative Catholics have taken offense at Pope Francis or Cardinal Fernández.
A document that was ultimately authorized by Pope Francis and presented by Cardinal Fernández in December outlined rules permitting priests to bless same-sex couples’ relationships even if they were still seen as sinful.
For many conservatives, the harm had already been done, despite Cardinal Fernández’s insistence that the position did not validate same-sex couples’ status in the eyes of the Catholic Church.
Under Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Gerhard Müller led the Church’s doctrine division and sharply criticized the Vatican’s declaration.
Cardinal Müller stated that a priest baptizing a homosexual couple would be doing a “sacrilegious and blasphemous act” in a lengthy reply that was uploaded online.
“According to the criteria of this type of blessing, one could even bless an abortion clinic or a mafia group,” Cardinal Müller stated.
Prelates from all over the world, particularly American conservatives, who have long been outspoken in their opposition to the Pope’s efforts to reform the Catholic Church, also issued statements denouncing the decision.
When US Cardinal Raymond Burke, an outspoken opponent, was kicked out of his Vatican flat and had his salary withheld by the Pope, tensions reached an all-time low.