According to Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, sex outside of marriage is not the “most serious” sin.
“Sins of the flesh are not the most serious,” the Pope said during a question-and-answer session with reporters on a flight back to Italy from Greece on Monday.
Instead, he called pride and hatred “the most serious” sins.
The Pope was also questioned about the resignation of Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit, who offered to resign earlier this month after a French magazine claimed he had an intimate relationship with a woman.
Archbishops and other higher-ranking members of the Catholic Church have traditionally practiced clerical celibacy, which means they abstain from sex.
The Archbishop denied the affair, saying, “I handled the situation poorly with a person who was in contact with me many times.”
The Pope, who accepted the Archbishop’s resignation, stated that “it was a failure on his part, a failure against the sixth commandment, but not a total failure.”
The sixth commandment states that “you shall not commit adultery,” which applies to people who have sex outside of their marriages, but the Pope suggested that it could also apply to priests who do not remain celibate.
During the flight, the Pope stated that the Archbishop was removed due to “gossip.”
“All of us are sinners. “He cannot govern when the gossip grows and grows and destroys someone’s good name,” he said.
“This is a travesty. That is why I accepted Aupetit’s resignation: not on the altar of truth, but on the altar of hypocrisy.”
During his visit to Greece, Pope Francis urged young people not to be swayed by today’s consumerist “sirens.”
“Today’s sirens want to entice you with seductive and insistent messages that focus on easy gains, the false needs of consumerism, the cult of physical wellness, and entertainment at all costs,” he explained. “All of these are like fireworks: they flash for a split second before dissipating into smoke in the air.”