Pope Francis stated that the sin of having sex without marriage was ‘not a serious sin. 

The 84-year old pontiff stated that “sins of flesh are not most serious,” during Monday’s press conference at the papal plane. 

His Holiness said that hatred and pride are the’most serious’.  

Francis made the comment in answer to a question about the Archbishop of Paris Michel Aupetit who resigned last week over an ‘ambiguous’ relationship with a woman. 

Pope Francis delivers his blessing as he recites the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St.Peter's Square, at the Vatican on Wednesday

Pope Francis offers his blessing from the Vatican’s window, where he recites the Angelus noon prayers. He did this on Wednesday.

Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit (pictured in April, 2021) wrote to Pope Francis offering to resign following a report saying he had a consensual, intimate relationship with a woman - but he has denied having sexual relations with her

Michel Aupetit of Paris, Archbishop, wrote to Pope Francis in April 2021, offering to resign after a report suggesting he had an informal, consensual affair with a female. However, he denies having any sexual relations with her.

Aupetit, at 70, has denied any sexual relationship. Catholic priests make vows of celibacy. He resigned to keep rumours away from the Church.

According to a spokeswoman for the diocese, he displayed ambiguous behavior with a close friend, adding that this was not a relationship of love or sexual intimacy.

Francis stated, “When gossip grows, grows, and takes away the person’s reputation, the man cannot govern… that’s an injustice.”

“This was why I accepted Aupetit’s resignation, and not on the altars of truth, but upon the altars of hypocrisy,” the pope declared on board a plane returning from a visit to Greece.

“I wonder what Aupetit did that was so grave that he had the nerve to quit.” “If we don’t know what the accusation is, we cannot condemn,” the pope stated, asking journalists to look into it.

Aupetit was condemned, said he. What did Aupetit do? But we don’t know what to do.”

But, the pope made reference to the violation of the sixth Commandment. It was an interdiction on adultery. The pope said that it was not total and that it involved little caresses or massages that he provided his secretary.

“That’s a sin.” It isn’t the most grave because it doesn’t involve the most severe sins,’ he stated.

He also said: “Aupetit is sinner.” “As I Am, Peter was the Bishop on which Christ’s Church Was Founded.”

Aupetit, who accepted the offer of the pope last week, stated in a statement that he wanted the diocese to be protected from divisions which always cause suspicion and the loss or confidence.

In answer to a separate question, the Pope urged urged caution in the ‘interpretation’ of a damning report into child sexual abuse by French Catholic clergy, saying a ‘historical situation’ must be viewed in context.  

An independent inquiry that was conducted in October by a landmark commission found extensive abuses of minors committed by priests in France from 1950 to 2020.

Pope Francis prays in front of the icon of Mary "Salus Populi Romani" (Salvation of the Roman People) at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, in Rome on Wednesday

Pope Francis prays at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore on Wednesday.

Pontiff: “When doing this kind of research, we should be careful about the interpretations we make.”

“Abuse 100 years ago was violence. He said that the experience was different today.

“For example, there were cases of church abuse, and the approach was to try to cover it up. Unfortunately, this attitude is still very common in large numbers of families.

He said that “historical circumstances” must be taken into account according to the times.

Following the publication, the Pope expressed shame, saying he didn’t have the report and would review it with the French bishops later in this month.

Francis had to deal with the flood of revelations regarding priests’ sexual abuse of children when he became pope.

Francois Devaux is the head of the victims’ association of France. He expressed his incredulity over the pope’s lack of interest in French inquiries.

Devaux stated to AFP that this would show the world that the pope is the root of the problem. He called his remarks ‘ignorance stupidity and denial.