Pope Francis called for civil union laws for same-sex couples in a documentary that premiered Wednesday in Rome, departing from Catholic doctrine.
“Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.”
He made the comments during a reflection on pastoral care for people who identify as LGBT.
“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” Pope Francis said. “I stood up for that.”
Traditional Catholic teachings say homosexual acts “are contrary to the natural law.”
“Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,'” the Catechism of the Catholic Church reads.
“They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
Francis became pope in 2013 and has previously expressed an interest in LGBT outreach, but has only touched on welcoming them instead of creating new policies, The Washington Post reported.
“This is the first time as pope he’s making such a clear statement,” Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit who has advocated for welcoming LGBT members in the church, said Wednesday.
“I think it’s a big step forward. In the past, even civil unions were frowned upon in many quarters of the church. He is putting his weight behind legal recognition of same-sex civil unions.”
Pope Benedict XVI, Francis’ predecessor, said homosexuality is an “intrinsic moral evil.” Francis in 2013 said, “Who am I to judge?”
“This is huge,” the director of Fordham University’s Center on Religion and Culture, David Gibson, said.
“Looking behind all this, he’s basically saying, again, we’re not here to be culture warriors. We’re not here to pick fights. We are out here to build up the family.”
Other people were not quite as supportive of this move.
“Pope Francis once referred to laws that attempted to redefine marriage as no ‘mere bill but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God,'” American commentator Michael Knowles tweeted. “Confusing.”
Pope Francis once referred to laws that attempted to redefine marriage as no “mere bill but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.” Confusing.
— Michael Knowles (@michaeljknowles) October 21, 2020
Roman Catholic priest John Stone said, “I suppose there’ll be further changes to the catechism of the Catholic Church and what we believe? I just can’t keep up with this. I think I’ll stick with the old books & the old religion.”
“Francesco” is a documentary on the life and ministry of Pope Francis and is set to premiere in North America on Sunday.
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