French gender equality minister wants priest prosecuted for saying homosexuality is sinful 'weakness'

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A French government official has called for the prosecution of a Roman Catholic priest over a video he posted to social media describing homosexual inclinations as "a weakness" that must be fought like any other sin.

Father Matthieu Raffray, 45, posted the video to his more than 60,000 Instagram followers on March 15, admonishing them to resist their sinful weaknesses, including homosexuality among them.

"We all have weaknesses: those who are greedy, those who are angry, those who have homosexual tendencies!" Raffray said in the incriminating video, according to French Catholic media outlet Famille Chrétienne.

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Raffray's comments drew the ire of Aurore Bergé, a 37-year-old politician who has served as France's minister for gender equality, diversity and equal opportunities since January.

Bergé released a statement on March 20 saying that Raffray's comments about homosexuality were "unacceptable" and that she was reporting him to the Interministerial Delegation for the Fight against Racism, Anti-semitism, and Anti-LGBT Hatred (DILCRAH) to be prosecuted under Article 40 of the French penal code.

"I will not let anything go in the face of hatred, whatever it may be," Bergé said in an X post.

DILCRAH — a delegation that works with various government ministries to devise, coordinate and manage French government policy on combating racism, anti-Semitism and anti-LGBT hate crimes — replied to Bergé's tweet about 20 minutes later by noting they had forwarded Raffray's comments to the public prosecutor at her request.

"So-called 'conversion therapy' has been illegal since 2022," the delegation tweeted. "Talking about homosexuality as a weakness is shameful."

On the same day, Raffray tweeted that his X account has passed over 20,000 followers and thanked "the hysterics of all stripes who try to destabilize me with grotesque controversies: publicity assured."

"Friends or enemies: I pray for you," he wrote. 

In the video, the priest reminded his listeners that everyone has the requisite spiritual weapons to combat such weaknesses but that Satan tempts them to believe the battle is "too hard" and to give up.

Raffray, who has a sizable social media following and outreach to young French people, has remained unapologetic regarding his position and has not removed the video despite ruffling the feathers of the French diversity minister.

The priest told Famille Chrétienne that his video was about "temptations in general" and that his intention was not to single out homosexuality but rather "to make it clear that we are not obliged to give in to all our temptations, to all our desires."

"I cite homosexuality, among other things," he said. "Homosexual acts are a sin, but I think people no longer know what a sin is. Denouncing a sin does not mean denouncing the person who commits the sin! You could have blamed me if I had said something clumsy or hurtful, but that's not the case here."

"Not only am I not homophobic; in addition, as a priest, I am careful about the vocabulary I use on this issue because I know that the subject is sensitive and that people can easily be hurt," he said.

Raffrey believes the French government is attacking the Catholic Church and its teachings through him.

"What is at stake is not me, but the freedom to be Christian today," he was quoted as saying. "I hope that all the faithful realize that it is Christian morality and the entire Church that are under attack."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church condemns homosexual inclinations as "objectively disordered" and that they constitute "a trial" for those Catholics who experience them. The catechism also teaches that those who struggle with such feelings "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided."

The conversion therapy ban France passed in 2022 prohibits "repeated practices, behaviors or comments aimed at modifying or repressing a person's sexual orientation" and could feasibly be used to prosecute figures such as Raffray, Famille Chrétienne noted.

Governments clamping down on speech critical of homosexuality have emerged in other parts of Europe.

In Finland, Finnish MP Päivi Räsänen and Bishop Juhana Pohjola of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland have been dragged into court multiple times in recent years on "hate speech" charges for publishing material in opposition to homosexuality.

In Malta, Matthew Grech faced criminal charges under the country's conversion therapy ban last year for giving his Christian testimony about leaving a homosexual lifestyle on a radio show.

Speaking about proposed anti-hate speech legislation in Ireland that would apply to sexual orientation, Alliance for Defending Freedom CEO Kristen Waggoner told The Christian Post in December that her organization perceives "a global trend toward censorship."

"And it's not just a disregard for free speech; it's an active targeting to silence speech by the government," she said, adding that the U.S. is not immune to such trends despite the U.S. Constitution.

Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to

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