Coptic Bishop Rafael has spoken again on the issue of homosexuality after suggesting gay people “need treatment”, saying that his comments were misunderstood.
On Saturday, a day after the US legalised gay marriage, Bishop Rafael of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church said that homosexuals are deviations, require treatment, and can be cured by “God’s grace”.
“Homosexuality is the result of perverted desires or a sick upbringing, and it needs to be treated… There is no possibility that homosexuality can be due to genes in the body, like gay people claim, it is a product of will and perversion, and so can be redeemed,” he said.
However, speaking two days later, Bishop Rafael “condemned the comments that described him as ignorant and extremist”.
Speaking on his Facebook page he said: “When I wrote about the sin of ‘sexual deviation’ I did not mean to judge anyone or discuss who is a sinner, who is responsible, or place damnation on anyone.”
Rather, the leading church bishop suggested that he was “writing the opinion of the holy bible and called for those suffering to repent”.
“I know a number of youth whose lives were corrected completely after repenting this sin and they were cured completely. I was alarmed when others… accused me and the church of negligence in the service of youth.”
But Bishop Rafael concluded by saying in general his philosophy is that “whoever has ears to hear with, let him hear. But who doesn’t want to hear, we won’t burn his house or chase his life because this is isn’t the way of Christ”.