22/01/2014 05:46 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 16:01 GMT

Pope Francis' Newest Cardinal, Fernando Sebastian Aguilar, Says Homosexuality Is 'Physical Defect'

Pope Francis looks on during his general audience at St Peter's square on January 22, 2014 at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Francis' newest Spanish Cardinal has called homosexuality a physical “defect” that can be cured.

Recently elected Fernando Sebastian Aguilar from Spain, 85, who takes up his office in the Vatican in February, has sparked fury from gay rights groups after branding homosexuality a "defective manner of expressing sexuality."

He even likened the sexual orientation to long lasting physical ailments like high blood pressure, which he suffers from.

"[Sex] has a structure and a purpose, which is procreation," he said.

"A homosexual who can't achieve this [procreation] is failing."

He continued: "Our bodies have many defects. I have high blood pressure."

In an interview with Diario Sur the newly elected cardinal remained defiant against comments from LGBT groups that his words were "medieval" and "out of place in this time."

He insisted that calling homosexuality a defect was “not an insult” but is helpful because it is “possible to recover and become normal with the right treatment."

Aguilar also claimed the Pope's more positive attitudes towards gay people had been manipulated.

He said: "All he is doing is offering comprehension and compassion and showing a desire to welcome those who have gone astray."

"The pope is very respectful and holds all people in high esteem but he doesn't betray or change the traditional teaching of the church.

“It's one thing to be compassionate towards a homosexual person and another thing to morally justify the practice of that homosexuality," he said.

"You can tell a person what their weakness is but that doesn't justify a decision to respect them and help them.'

Maria Gamez, spokesman for the PSOE party in Malaga, blasted Aguilar's anti-gay sentiments.

He said: "These are not the winds of change that appear to be blowing from the Vatican.

"Pope Francis seemed to have distanced himself from these retrograde, insulting and anti constitutional theses.

"He should be asking himself whether a cardinal like this is helping the regeneration he defends."

But the Pope’s own record on gay rights was sullied late last year after the Bishop of Malta said the pontiff was “shocked” by gay adoption in an interview with The Sunday Times of Malta.

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