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Just when you thought the Catholic church was finally softening its hardline stance against homosexuality, one Italian priest had to go and blow it for everyone, blaming gay civil unions for a series of catastrophic earthquakes that killed hundreds of people and displaced thousands more. Classy.

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According to the Guardian, Father Giovanni Cavalcoli told Radio Maria that the 6.6-magnitude temblor that ravaged the country on October 30 was “divine punishment” for “the offense to the family and the dignity of marriage, in particular through civil unions.”

The Vatican, helmed by so-called “Cool Pope” Francis, was quick to denounce Cavalcoli’s boneheaded statements as “a pagan vision” dating from “the pre-Christian era,” when God was still a wrathful bearded fellow who actively reveled in punishing sinners. Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the Vatican’s deputy secretary of state, called Cavalcoli’s remarks “offensive for believers and scandalous for those who do not believe.”

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Radio Maria also issued a statement apologizing for Cavalcoli, saying that he won’t be back on the air.

Cavalcoli, though, decided to double down, telling another radio station that the earthquakes were caused by the “sins of man” and instructing the Vatican to “read their catechism.”

Italy has been hit by a number of cataclysmic earthquakes in rapid succession, with a major one in August followed by three more in the last month alone. As a result, more than 22,000 people are currently relying on assistance after their homes were damaged or destroyed.

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Experts predict that more quakes may be on the way. As Gianluca Valensise, a seismologist at Italy’s National Institute for Geophysics and Vulcanology, told Reuters:

“An earthquake measuring 6 or larger creates stresses that are redistributed across adjacent faults and can cause them to rupture, and this is probably what we have seen since August,” Valensise said.

“This process can continue indefinitely, with one big quake weakening a sister fault in a domino process that can cover hundreds of kilometers, in principle.”

Italy was one of the last countries in western Europe to legalize same-sex unions, officially passing legislation recognizing civil unions in June.