Pope Francis publicly supported the legal protection of same-sex couples. It was met with immediate opposition from conservatives in the Catholic Church.
“They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it,” Pope Francis said in a documentary titled “Francesco,” which was played as the opening film of the Rome International Film Festival in Italy on Wednesday, according to BBC and others. “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” said the pope.
Civil union laws, while not recognizing same-sex marriage, grant the same legal status as heterosexual marriage. Some European countries and states in the U.S. have implemented the laws. “Francis becomes 1st pope to endorse same-sex civil unions,” says The Associated Press.
While the Catholic Catechism states that homosexual acts cannot be allowed under any circumstances, Pope Francis has been inclusive of homosexuality. "If a person is gay, seeks God and has goodwill, who am I to judge?”, the pope said right after his accession in 2013. During his time as the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, he opposed same-sex marriage while endorsing legal protection for same-sex couples.
The Catholic Church has opposing reactions to his stance. “Pope Francis has overstepped his bounds,” said the Rev. Gerald Murray, pastor of Holy Family Church in New York, noting that division inside the church can worsen, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Pope Francis’s support for same-sex civil unions is a major step forward in the church’s support of LGBTQ people,” said the Rev. James Martin, priest of the Society of Jesus.
“Civil unions are clearly distinguished from marriage or family recognized by the Catholic Catechism,” said a member of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea. “The pope’s comments can be interpreted as awareness of discrimination against homosexuality and emphasis on social mechanisms to protect the human rights of homosexuals.”
Jong-Yeob JO firstname.lastname@example.org