E.W. Jackson, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in Virginia, criticized Pope Francis for suggesting the Catholic Church is "obsessed" with opposing certain issues like gay marriage.
Jackson's comments came a few days after Pope Francis criticized the Catholic Church for being unnecessarily "obsessed" with gay marriage. Francis subsequently seemed to offer a partial walk back a few days later, saying that doctors should refuse to conduct abortions, which he called a part of "throw-away culture."
"I know even the pope has said when we talk about these things, we imply a kind of intolerance. That is not the point at all," Jackson said Sunday during an event at the Restoration Fellowship Church in Strasburg, Virginia according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "The point is to be true to the word of God. The point is to stand up and tell the truth. There is no better way found, ever, to raise children than with a mother and a father in the home. Even sociologically, you can make the argument."
On Thursday the Pope offered a pointed crititque of his church, saying that the "church's pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently."
"We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel," Francis said.
The comments were seen as a pointed response to critical bishops who have said Francis has not sufficiently expressed opposition to topics like homosexuality, contraception, and abortion.
Jackson has been even more direct in his criticism of gay marriage. He has previously referred to gay people as "sick and perverted."