In an interview published yesterday by the Malaga newspaper Sur, the 84-year-old Sebastian said that homosexuality is a "defect" that can and should be corrected with treatment, just like other ailments such as heart disease.
Agence France-Presse reports:
"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"...
"We have a lot of defects in our bodies. I have high blood pressure. Am I going to get angry because they tell me that? It is a defect I have that I have to correct as far as I can," said Sebastian, who is the archbishop emeritus of the northern city of Pamplona.
"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. It is not an offence, it is esteem. When someone has a defect, the good friend is the one who tells him."
Sebastian was asked about Pope Francis's famous "who am I to judge?" comment, and his response underscored something I've been saying for a long time: Francis's words sounded nice, but changed nothing.
The Spanish archbishop, who, because of his age, will not hold a vote in the conclave that elects pontiffs, said the pope shows respect to all people but is not changing the teaching of the Church.
"It is one thing to show welcome and affection to a homosexual person and another to morally justify the exercise of homosexuality," he said.
Pope Francis will officially elevate Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Sebastian Aguilar to the cardinalate on February 22.