Pope Francis calls for same-sex civil union laws in new documentary, Vatican declines comment

He has almost maintained a more tolerant tone.

Belmont Lay | October 21, 2020, 11:53 PM

Pope Francis said in a new documentary being aired that same-sex couples should be “legally covered”, calling for the creation of civil union laws for same-sex couples.

“What we have to create is a civil union law,” he said.

His comments in the documentary has been picked up by international media worldwide given his more tolerant tone toward homosexuality that appeared to break with the position of the Roman Catholic Church by supporting civil unions for same-sex couples.

The documentary, Francesco, made its debut in Rome on Oct. 21 and will premiere later in the United States.

The pope told the filmmaker, Evgeny Afineevsky, in an interview that “homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family”, as he directly addressed the issue of civil unions in the film.

“They’re children of God and have a right to a family,” the pope said. “Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.”

Pope causing a stir among conservative adherents of faith again

Francis became pope in 2013.

His latest statement is his clearest stance on the issue to date.

The church officially teaches that homosexual sex acts are “disordered”.

Francis’s predecessor, Benedict XVI, called homosexuality an “intrinsic moral evil”.

Francis has not changed church doctrine, but he has pushed the church away from its previous stance.

This has angered conservatives, who accuse him of adjusting teaching for modern times.

The New York Times reported that a spokesperson for the Vatican declined to comment until he had seen the movie and the pope’s remarks.


Francis’s new remarks are a departure from official church teaching.

However, Francis has long expressed interest in outreach to the church’s LGBT followers.

His remarks are not regarded as substantive policies, but they often stressed understanding and welcoming.

Francis' approach has been interpreted as openness to recognising same-gender civil unions.

He has come across as someone noticing the possible need for legal recognition for existing families so they can access civil benefits such as heath care.

This is a sidestepping of a previous message the Church put out close to two decades earlier.

In 2003, under the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, the church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then led by the future Pope Benedict XVI, issued “Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons”.

It wrote: “The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions.”

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