French government cracks down on priest who said homosexual relations are sinful — By: Catholic News Agency

Father Matthieu Raffray. / Credit: @AbbeRaffray on X

ACI Prensa Staff, Apr 3, 2024 / 08:00 am (CNA).

The French government has initiated a series of legal measures against Father Matthieu Raffray for calling homosexual relations sinful and for describing homosexuality as a “weakness.”

On March 15, the priest of the Institute of the Good Shepherd — created in 2006 in Rome for “the defense and dissemination of Catholic Tradition in all its forms,” according to the website of this society of apostolic life — posted a video on Instagram in which he encouraged the faithful to fight against their weaknesses.

Raffray commented that each person has his or her own weapons with which to fight, but the devil convinces people that the fight “is too hard” and therefore it’s useless to resist.

The video was denounced by various LGBT lobby groups, and Aurore Bergé, government minister for equality between women and men and the fight against discrimination, called the priest’s statements “unacceptable.”

Aurore Bergé, government minister for equality between women and men and the fight against discrimination, initiated the legal action against the French priest. Credit: Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images

Bergé wrote on X that she has asked the Interministerial Delegation for the Fight against Racism, Anti-semitism, and Anti-LGBT Hatred (DILCRAH) to report the alleged infraction on the basis of Article 40 of the penal code to the public prosecutor. “In the face of hatred I’m not going to let anything get by, whatever it may be,” she added.

DILCRAH in turn stated on X that it received the minister’s message and has informed “the prosecutor of the homophobic comments made by Mr. Raffray on social media. So-called ‘conversion therapy’ has been illegal since 2022. Talking about homosexuality as a weakness is shameful.”

‘Christian morality and the entire Church’ are at stake

In an interview with the French Catholic media Famille Chrétienne (“Christian Family”), Raffray explained that the video was about “temptations in general. I wanted to make it clear that we do not have to give in to all our temptations, to all our desires.”

“Homosexual acts are a sin, but I think people don’t know what a sin is anymore. Condemning a sin is not the same as condemning the person who commits it,” he pointed out.

“You could have blamed me if I had said something clumsy or hurtful. That’s not the case at all. Not only am I not homophobic, but as a priest I am careful with the language I use on this topic, because I know that it is a sensitive topic and that people can easily feel hurt,” the priest explained.

The French priest then noted that “what’s at stake is not me but the freedom of being a Christian today. I hope that all the faithful realize that what is at stake is Christian morality and the entire Church.”

Raffray then shared that he has received comments from homosexuals thanking him for what he said, “this truthful speech. If some do not want to listen to the doctrine of the Church, no one forces them.”

Who is Father Matthieu Raffray?

Raffray is a well-known priest who has a growing apostolate on the internet and social media aimed especially at young French-speaking people.

He has more than 60,000 followers on Instagram, more than 22,000 on YouTube, and more than 21,000 on X.

He is a pro-life and pro-family advocate and has published French-language books such as “Myths and Lies of Progressivism” (2020) and more recently “The Greatest of Combats,” with which he seeks to answer the fundamental and existential questions of life.

Raffray, 45, was born in 1979 and is one of nine children. He studied mathematics before being ordained a priest in 2009.

He holds a doctorate in philosophy and teaches at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome.

According to the publication European Conservative, he rose to fame in 2020 after an interview with French YouTuber Baptiste Marchais in which he defended the return to a “virile Catholicism” and the feeling of patriotism among the Catholic faithful. 

What does the Catholic Church teach about homosexuality?

Catholic teaching on homosexuality is summarized in paragraphs 2357, 2358, and 2359 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The Church teaches that men and women with same-sex attraction “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

The catechism notes that homosexual inclination is “objectively disordered” and constitutes for those who experience it “a trial.”

Based on sacred Scripture, the catechism states that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” and “they do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity.” Consequently, “under no circumstances can they be approved.”

“Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection,” the catechism explains.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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