Pope Francis has said that the pleasures of a well-cooked meal or loving sexual intercourse are 'divine' in a newly-published book of interviews.
He believes they have unjustly fallen victim to 'overzealousness' on the part of the Catholic Church in the past.
'Pleasure arrives directly from God, it is neither Catholic, nor Christian, nor anything else, it is simply divine,' the Pope told Italian writer Carlo Petrini.
He said there was no place for an 'overzealous morality' that denies pleasure, something which he admitted had existed in the church in the past.
'The Church has condemned inhuman, brutish, vulgar pleasure, but has on the other hand always accepted human, simple, moral pleasure,' he said.
'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.
He added: 'The pleasure of eating and sexual pleasure come from God.'
Pope Francis added that opposing views 'have caused enormous harm, which can still be felt strongly today'.
The book 'TerraFutura, conversations with Pope Francis on integral ecology', written by Petrini, was published on September 9.
Mr Petrini is the founder of the global 'slow food' movement created in the 1980s in opposition to 'fast food'.
The interviews focus on the pope's vision of environmentalism with a social face, outlined in his 2015 encyclical 'Laudato Si'.
This comes days after the pontiff told an audience at the Vatican that 'coronavirus would be defeated by God's love' and removed his mask to chat with worshipers.
Source: The Daily Mail