Today, the world woke up to surprising news: Pope Francis apparently endorses same-sex civil unions.
In the documentary “Francesco,” which premiered in the Rome Film Festival on Oct. 21, the pope stated, “Homosexual people have a right to be in a family. They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it.”
Now, this isn’t the first time that the pope has spoken about same-sex marriage. However, as papal biographer Austen Ivereigh has noticed, it’s one of the “clearest language the pontiff has used on the subject since his election in 2013.”
Pope Francis says further in the film, “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that.” This is the first time that he has expressed this view as pope. However, back when he was an archbishop of Buenos Aires, he had already endorsed civil unions for gay couples but declared Argentina’s 2010 gay marriage bill a “destructive attack on God’s plan.” Apart from this, he has also claimed that gay adoption discriminates against children.
“[T]he Argentine people will face a situation whose outcome can seriously harm the family,” he wrote to the four monasteries in Argentina. “At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts,” he said in a statement on the bill’s passing into law.
In 2016, Pope Francis stated that the Church must apologize to the gay community and other marginalized sectors that it has offended. In the same speech where he said that some behaviors of the gay community can be condemned for being “a bit offensive for others,” he preached, “Someone who has this condition, who has good will and is searching for God, who are we to judge?”
While a number of celebrities and netizens today celebrate what seems to be a leap forward in the right direction for the Church, others remain wary of calling it a big win.
Some sent their thanks to the Pope and noted how his “show of support” for the LGBTQ+ could change how the community is negatively treated by some members of the Church.
Time will tell, but I believe that Pope Francis’s support for same-sex unions will ultimately have a profound impact on how gays and lesbians are treated around the world. The Pope’s views, heard by the over 1 billion Catholics worldwide, have incredible power.
Still, there are those who aren’t as enthused and don’t consider the move as monumental.
Pope Francis's statements seem progressive until you think about the fact that he's still not advocating for same-sex marriage within the church. It's basically the, "love the sinner, hate the sin," argument which seems benevolent on the surface but is still calling it a sin.