For the first time ever, Pope Francis has recently spoken out about his support for same-sex civil unions. The announcement was made in a recent documentary entitled “Francesco” and has since made international headlines.
“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family, they are children of God,” said the Pope as part of the documentary. “You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this.” He then goes on to discuss the idea of creating a civil union law. “That way they are legally covered,” said the Pope.
The documentary containing these remarks was released as a part of the Rome Film Festival, and was
directed by Russian filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky.
A St. Thomas professor, Charles Reed, made a statement regarding the Pope’s remarks, noting that
because these remarks were made via documentary the likeness of the Catholic Church as a whole following suit is slim. “The mode of speech was very carefully chosen,” Reed said, according to KARE 11.
This is the first time Pope Francis has fully come out to support same sex unions, but in past interviews he has suggested that he is not against same sex civil unions either. The Pope has been known to have a record of encouraging LGBTQ+ relationships. These remarks may further indicate that although he is speaking publicly about his support, there is no evidence that the church will be altering their laws to benefit same sex unions.
While the documentary came out rather recently, The Vatican has been denying these remarks and labeling them as old news. Many conservative wings of the church have been asking for clarification.
It is important to note that the Pope made these remarks in regards to same sex civil unions, a term
that is similar but not equal to same sex marriage. Pope Francis is still unwaveringly in support of the church’s already existing laws in regards to same sex marriage. This means that while he may be in support of same sex civil union, it is still unclear as to whether of not he supports same sex marriage unions.
This is not the only thing the Pope has done recently that gained attention. On October 25, the Pope
appointed 13 new cardinals. One of the new cardinals, Wilton Gregory, has become the first Black American in the church’s highest governing body. The Archbishop Gregory is also the first American since 2016 to be appointed to the college of cardinals.
Archbishop Gregory has been urging his fellow church leaders to improve upon race relations in the months leading up to his appointment.
Of the 37,000 Catholic priests in the United States, only about 250 of them are Black, according to the
New York Times, as most Black American adults are Protestant; about 5% of Black Americans are Catholic.
Black Americans have been excluded from seminaries for centuries, so this recent appointment is a significant step towards a voice in Archbishop Gregory’s stance against racism.
These recent developments are indicative of Pope Francis’s attempts to, according to the New York Times, “redirect the church towards greater acceptance of those on the margins.”.
Sources : KARE 11, CNN, Richmond Free Press, New York Times