In an interview with Italian writer Carlo Petrini, who has compiled several conversations with the pope for a new book, his Holiness Popw Francis referred to sex and food, among other delights, as gifts from God. Furthermore, to enjoy them is not sinful, as “overzealous” church leaders have taught in the past.

“Pleasure arrives directly from God. It is neither Catholic nor Christian nor anything else; it is simply divine,” he tells Petrini in the book “TerraFutura: Conversations With Pope Francis on Integral Ecology,” an English working title, out now in Italy. “The pleasure of eating and sexual pleasure come from God.”

Francis continued, referring to the church’s past condemnation for life’s gustatory and sexual pleasures as “overzealous morality … A wrong interpretation of the Christian message.”

“The pleasure of eating is there to keep you healthy by eating, just like sexual pleasure is there to make love more beautiful and guarantee the perpetuation of the species,” said the Pontifex Maximus.

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