Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a Catholic convert, has said that the Vatican should rethink its negative and "entrenched" attitudes towards homosexuality.
In an interview with the gay magazine Attitude, which is marking its 15th anniversary, Mr Blair disagreed with the Pope's stance and argued that most Catholic congregations would have a more tolerant approach to lesbian and gay people.
In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI sparked astonishment and fury when he suggested that homosexuality was as big a threat to humankind as the destruction of the rainforests.
Mr Blair, who was received into the Catholic Church from the Church of England after leaving Downing Street in 2007, said that people's attititude to, and understanding of, homosexuality had to keep "evolving".
He declared: "There is a huge generational difference here. There's probably that same fear amongst religious leaders that if you concede ground on [homosexuality], because attitudes and thinking evolve over time, where does that end? You'd start having to rethink many, many things."
Blair added: "If you went and asked the [ordinary Catholic] congregation, I think you'd find that their faith is not to be found in those types of entrenched attitudes."
Some evangelical Christians have also been calling for a re-think on sexuality recently, a pointed noted by Tony Blair. Christian singer Sir Cliff Richard said in 2007 that he hoped the church would adopt a more welcoming stance to gay people.
See also: 'Evangelicals call for a change of heart on gays' - http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/8749