Pope Francis has said that sexual pleasure is “a gift from God” that should be “disciplined with patience.”

He also warned against pornography, which he said brought “satisfaction without relationship” and could lead to addiction.

His Vatican address was part of a series of sermons on vices and virtues, focused on what the Pope called “the demon of lust”.

It followed criticism by conservative Catholics of his new head of doctrine.

Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernández, who was appointed last July, came under fire for a book he wrote and published in the late 1990s entitled Mystical Passion: Spirituality and Sensuality.

The book, which is now out of print, discussed human sexuality and provided detailed descriptions of male and female experiences during orgasms. Speaking to Catholic online publication Crux, Cardinal Fernández said he wrote the book when he was still young and he “certainly would not” write it now.

Conservative commentators have called the book “perverse”, with one saying it showed Cardinal Fernández was “unfit” to be prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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