A nun in Spain who says she received death threats for suggesting that Mary probably had sex with her husband, Joseph, has apologised for any offence caused, but accused her critics of deliberately misunderstanding her point.
Sister Lucía Camar, a well-known Dominican nun with more than 183,000 Twitter followers, appeared to contradict church teaching when she appeared on Spanish TV on Sunday to discuss sex and faith.
“I think Mary was in love with Joseph and that they were a normal couple – and having sex is a normal thing,” she told the Chester in Love show, adding: “It’s hard to believe and hard to take in. We’ve ended up with the rules we’ve invented without getting to the true message.”
Camar, who was born in Argentina but lives in a Catalan convent, said sexuality was a God-given, basic part of every individual and a means of self-expression.
However, she said it was something the church had long struggled with.
“I think the church has had a poor attitude to it for a long time and has swept it a bit under the carpet,” she said. “It wasn’t a taboo subject; it was more something that was considered dirty or hidden. It was the denial of what I believe to be a blessing.”
The nun’s remarks prompted a wave of online anger, including an online petition for her to be suspended from her order.
Her views were quickly disowned by the Bishop of Vic, who responded with a statement reminding people that Mary’s virginity had been an article of faith since the church’s inception.
“(It) was gathered and proclaimed by the Second Council of Constantinople, being the primary Marian dogma observed by Catholic and Orthodox Christians,” it said. “We remind people that these remarks do not conform to the faith of the church and regret the confusion they may have caused to the faithful.”
On Wednesday, Camar issued a statement in which she said she had received death threats after her TV appearance.
“When asked about the Virgin Mary, I said that, as I see it, Mary obviously loved Joseph . . . I wanted to say that it wouldn’t shock me if she had had a normal couple’s relationship with Joseph, her husband.
“This shocked a lot of people, perhaps because there was no opportunity for clarification. But I think that my fidelity to, and love for, the church, the gospel and Jesus’s project are clear – as it the certainty that sex is neither dirty nor something to be condemned, and that marriage and sex are a blessing.”
She added that while she apologised to anyone who felt offended, she was worried by the “fragmented, ideological and perverse” way in which her remarks had been interpreted. The nun said that “some heretic-bashers, thirsting for vengeance and driven by hatred” had lied about her and made “serious threats, including to my life”.
It is not the first time that the nun has found herself in trouble with her superiors.
A self-declared “pain-in-the-arse nun”, she has engaged in politics and made plain her enthusiasm for Catalan independence.