The Rev. Fernando Sebastián, a Spanish cardinal newly appointed by Pope Francis, has called homosexuality a "defect" from which people can recover, and further clarified the pope's view on the controversial subject.
"Homosexuality is a defective manner of expressing sexuality, because this (sex) has a structure and a purpose, which is procreation," said 85-year-old Sebastián, who is set to take up office at the Vatican in February, according to local Spanish newspaper Diario Sur.
"A homosexual who can't achieve this (procreation) is failing."
The Spanish cardinal, who was selected by the Vatican leader earlier in January along with 18 other cardinals to serve the Roman Catholic Church, compared homosexually with high blood pressure, a medical condition he suffers from.
"It's a defect that I have to try and correct in whatever way I can ... To say that homosexuality is a defect is not an insult; it helps because in many cases of homosexuality it is possible to recover and become normal with the right treatment," Sebastián expressed.
Pope Francis has been in the media spotlight recently for his stance on homosexuality. While standing behind the official church teachings on the subject, he has also stressed that gay people "must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity."
He also recently stated, "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?" The comment won him praise from gay rights groups, and he was selected as The Advocate's person of the year for the change in attitude he has brought to do the discussion.
Francis revealed that he has been criticized for refusing to speak more often about controversial social issues, but said that context is important to consider when discussing such topics.
"We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible," the pontiff said in September.
When asked about the pope's views, the Spanish cardinal clarified that Francis "is very respectful and holds all people in high esteem but [he] doesn't betray or change the traditional teaching of the church."
He added that being compassionate toward gay people is one thing, and trying to morally justify the practice of homosexuality is another.
"You can tell a person what their weakness is but that doesn't justify [a decision] to respect them and help them," Sebastián continued.
"I think that's the pope's position as with gay marriage and divorce."