Coptic Pope: Homosexuality is a learned behavior

Homosexuality is not linked with genetics, head of the Egyptian Coptic Church Pope Shenouda III said on Wednesday.

Shenouda, speaking during his weekly sermon, said homosexuality is a "voluntary sin," a learned behavior resulting from social and environmental influences.

"God did not create genes that cause evil or deviant behavior," Shenouda said, while categorically refuting the argument that "homosexuality is inborn."

Homosexuals, he added, can be "treated and led to repentance."

Shenouda noted that he conducted extensive debates with bishops from the Church of England on the subject of homosexuality over ten years ago. They did not share his viewpoint on the issue, he said, but rather believe homosexuality is instilled in an individual at birth.

Following his sermon, the pope announced that next week's sermon will be canceled as the cathedral will be adorned with Christmas decorations.

In 2003, a joint statement was issued by the heads and representatives of all Christian denominations in Egypt condemning homosexuality.

In the statement, homosexuality was described as "heretical," "an aberration" and in violation of "the teachings of the Bible." The statement also said that homosexuality threatens the stability of marriage, the family institution, societal ethics, human dignity and church purity.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.


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