Pope says sex is a beautiful thing and using Tinder to meet people is 'completely normal'
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Pope Francis has broken his silence on some controversial topics, saying that using dating apps to meet partners is 'normal' and the Catholic Church’s teaching about sex is 'still in diapers'.
In a new documentary released this week, the head of the worldwide Catholic Church spoke out on topics that are usually left alone by His Holiness.
The pontiff said: "Sex is one of the beautiful things God gave to human beings,” in a conversation with 10 Spanish-speaking young adults for the recently released documentary The Pope: Answers.
The intimate group, whose ages ranged from 20 to 25, included Catholics, Christians, atheists, agnostics and one Muslim.
They sat down with the Pope and quizzed him on a range of sensitive topics including sex, masturbation, the church’s sexual abuse crisis, racism, immigration, abortion and LGBTQ issues.
The film was recorded in June 2022 and released on Disney+ on Wednesday (5 April).
When Alejandra, a woman who creates adult content on livestreaming sites, asked him about pornography and masturbation, the Pope said pornography 'diminishes'.
He explained: "To express oneself sexually is something rich.
“Anything that diminishes a true sexual expression diminishes you as well, it renders you partial, and it diminishes that richness.
"Sex has a dynamic of its own. It exists for a reason. It’s an expression of love.”
While the 86-year-old admitted he didn't own a phone, Francis' answer was pretty surprising when he was asked about his thoughts on young people meeting on dating apps such as Tinder.
“It’s normal. Young people have that eagerness to meet each other, and that’s very good," he enthused.
When the pontiff was bluntly asked whether he wanted to be in a relationship, he said he had once been in one.
"It was before I entered the seminary, but then I chose celibacy," he explained.
He also touched upon the fact that Christians don't have an up-to-date catechesis, or religious instruction, on sex.
He admitted it was 'still at a very early stage' adding that the 'catechesis on sex is still in diapers'.
Next onto the globally contentious topic of abortion and his advice to priests ministering women who have had terminations.
His said: “Do not ask many questions and be merciful, such as Jesus was.
"We should not send her to hell all of a sudden or isolate her, no. We should stay by her side.”
He stated his belief that abortion must be looked at 'scientifically, and with a certain coldness', adding that one month on from conception an embryo was no longer simply 'a bunch of cells that got together, but a systemised human life'.
Celia, identifying herself as nonbinary, asked Pope Francis if the church can hold space for the transgender, non-binary and LGBTQ+ community in general.
He began: “The church cannot close its doors on anybody.
"I don’t have the right to cast anyone out from the church. My job is to receive, always."
He's been celebrated as being more progressive than his papal predecessors for his views on the LGBTQ+ community, having called for the passage of civil union laws for same-sex couples to be legally recognised.
In January, he described laws that criminalise the LGBTQ+ community as 'unjust' and explained that God loves everyone just as they are.
The Pope’s openness was welcomed by the diverse group, describing him as 'laid back' saying there was 'not so much pomp about him.'
The documentary's release comes just days after Francis was hospitalised for three days with bronchitis.