Pope Francis endorses homosexual civil unions


Aleteia Image Department

Image from the Canonization of Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II by Pope Francis and the Catholic Church. This event, attended by millions is amongst the most important in current history.

Sydni Bratthauar, Staff Reporter

Pope Francis announced his support of same-sex civil unions last week in his documentary “Francesco,” which debuted at the Rome Film Festival.

The film’s director, Evgeny Afineevsky, recounts the story of Andrea Rubera,a married gay Catholic who wrote to Pope Francis asking for advice on bringing his three children and husband into church with him. The pope suggested Rubera to approach his parish transparently and bring his children up in the faith. This scene in the documentary then transitions to the pope’s comments about civil unions.

Francis surprised the audience with a quote he said in Spanish: “ley de convivencia civil” which means law of civil coexistence in English. The comment made by the pope is an enormous progressive step in the Catholic Church, which has historically disagreed with same-sex marriage.

“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that,” Pope Francis said in a USA Today interview.

According to The Associated Press, there were many negative reactions to the pope’s statements. Cardinal Raymond Burke, Francis’ adversary when it comes to matters of doctrine,said that the pope’s comments were without any “magisterial weight.” Burke also showed concern about personal opinions coming from the pope that “generate great bewilderment and cause confusion and error among Catholic faithful.”

The AP reported that the Vatican censored the pope last year by deleting his endorsement of civil unions from an interview done by Mexican broadcaster Televisa. The Vatican has refused to comment and implied a media blackout on the matter.

There have been many positive reactions to the pope’s announcement. In some countries, the rights of LGBTQIA+ people are a matter of life and death. Christopher Lamb, a reporter for Britain’s The Tablet magazine, said that Pope Francis is positioning the Catholic Church to defend LGBTQIA+ Catholics from possibly deadly discrimination.

Elton John thanked the pope in an instagram post and described how happy his civil union to David Furnish has made him. “Giving your blessing to same sex civil unions is a major step towards equality and a foundation for which countless others can enjoy the same protections and happiness. God bless you.”

Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and leading advocate for LGBTQIA+ Catholics, told the AP that the controversy over the shocking comments would be helpful.

He said, “The intrigue over the video’s origin and the explosive reaction to the pope’s ongoing support for LGBT people, make the pope’s words look more dangerous, and therefore more powerful.”