A Roman Catholic priest has blamed Italy's civil unions law for the nation's recent earthquakes.

Italian lawmakers earlier this year approved legislation that recognizes gay and lesbian couples with civil unions.

Fr. Giovanni Cavalcoli last week told radio station Radio Maria that the quakes were “divine punishment” for “the offense to the family and the dignity of marriage, in particular civil unions.”

On Friday, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, a high-ranking Vatican official, scolded Cavalcoli and called his remarks “offensive for believers and scandalous for non-believers.” Becciu said that the statements “have nothing to do with Church teaching and are contrary to the vision of God as offered to us by Christ.”

Despite the rebuke, Cavalcoli reiterated his claims during an appearance on another radio station, where he insisted that earthquakes were a result of “sins of the man.” He also said that the Vatican should “read their catechism.”

Pope Francis came out against civil unions in January.