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August 2, 2021
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A newly released documentary depicts Pope Francis discussing same-sex civil unions.
“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family,” Francis says in the documentary, “Francesco,” which debuted at a Rome Film Festival. “They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.” In another part of the documentary, Francis says “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered.”
As a Bishop in 2014, Francis told the Corriere della Sera, Italy’s largest newspaper, that nations legalizing civil unions did so mostly to give same-sex partners legal rights and health care benefits, and that he couldn’t express a blanket position, according to the New York Times. “You have to see the different cases and evaluate them in their variety,” he said then.
“This is a major step forward in the church’s relationship with L.G.B.T.Q. people,” said Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest who has written a book on how to make gay Catholics feel more welcome in the Church, and who has met with the pope and served as a consultor for the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications. In an interview with Fox 8, Father Martin acknowledged the Church’s previous teaching on same-sex marriage, but claims that “obviosuly [Pope Francis] sees things a little differently.” Father Martin said that this statement was momentous because Pope Francus is making the statement as Pope, when previously he made it as a Bishop. He also mentioned that the statement was on the record, and that the Pope was not only tolerating same-sex unions, but supporting them.
However, not all Catholic leaders interpreted his statements the same way. Cardinal Raymond Burke commented on the Pope’s statements on his website, discussing the Catholic Church’s official position on gay marriage. Cardinal Burke clarified that because of the context of the Pope’s statements, they do not alter the Church’s teaching but rather are rightly interpreted as “simple private opinions of the person who made them.” He then went on to note why homosexual acts are not approved by the church, stating that they are “contrary to the natural law, closed to the gift of life, and void of a true affective and sexual complemetarity.” He continues, saying that the deep-seated tendencies of those in the homosexual condition are a trial for them, but are not a sin in themselves.
“They are, therefore, to be received with respect, compassion and sensitivity, avoiding any unjust discrimination. The Catholic faith teaches the faithful to hate sin but to love the sinner.” Cardinal Burke then states that the faithful are held to oppose legal recognition of homosexual unions. “The right to form a family is not a private right to vindicate but must correspond to the plan of the Creator Who has willed the human being in sexual difference” He finishes the statement by saying that it is a source of deep sadness and pressing pastoral concern that the private opinion attributed to Pope Francis is being reported with so much emphasis and that it doesn’t correspond to the constant teaching of the Church.
ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR: CONNOR KMIECIK