Pope Francis Supports Civil Union For Gay Couples, But Conservative Christians Are Angry

Pope Francis Supports Civil Union For Gay Couples, But Conservative Christians Are Angry

Pope Francis made the historic remarks on same-sex marriage in a documentary about his life and work titled 'Francesco.'

Pope Francis has voiced his support for civil unions for gay couples marking the first time a pontiff has done so. The head of the Catholic Church has angered conservative Christians in the process, who are livid with his statement that they say goes against the Bible. The Pope said same-sex couples were children of God and deserved the right to have their own family. The historic remarks were made by Pope Francis in a new documentary film on him titled Francesco. This is a dramatic shift from the stance of the previous Pope, Benedict XVI, who labeled homosexuality "an intrinsic moral evil."



While Pope Francis has spoken favorably of the LGBTQ+ community, this is the first time the Pope has called for the civil union of same-sex couples. The new documentary film on Pope Francis is directed by Russian filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky and had premiered at the Rome Film Festival earlier this week, reported CNN. Conservatives slammed the Pope for "endorsing sin" and called on other Catholic leaders to speak out against the head of the Church.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JULY 26: Pope Francis waves from the Popemobile on his way to attend the Via Crucis on Copacabana Beach during World Youth Day celebrations on July 26, 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. More than 1.5 million pilgrims are expected to join the pontiff for his visit to the Catholic Church's World Youth Day celebrations which is running July 23-28. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)


"Homosexual people have a right to be in a family. They're children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it," said the Pope in the documentary. "What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered," said the Pope. Conservative Christians were angry, with some even quoting the Bible to the Pope.



The documentary Franceso explores the life of Pope Francis and his work and views on various burning issues including climate change, migration, and economic equality, states the film's website. The film is set to premiere in North America on Sunday at the SCAD Savannah Film Festival. Pope Francis, who hails from Argentina, had supported making laws to legalize same-sex civil unions when he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Argentina was debating on whether to legalize same-sex marriage when the then-Archbishop suggested legalizing same-sex civil unions as an alternative.


While the Catholic church has officially called for gay people to be treated with dignity and respect, it has refused to endorse homosexual acts in any manner, labeling it "intrinsically disordered," reports CBS News. Gay people "cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions," read a 2003 document signed by the then-prefect of the office, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.



With the Pope making such a strong statement on same-sex unions, the Catholic church finds itself at a crossroads with many calling on the head of the Vatican to clarify the statements. Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, said the Pope's stance contradicted the Church's teachings on same-sex unions, before calling same-sex relationships immoral. "The Church cannot support the acceptance of objectively immoral relationships," Thomas said in a statement. "Individuals with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God and must have their personal human rights and civil rights recognized and protected by law. However, the legalization of their civil unions, which seek to simulate holy matrimony, is not admissible." 

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 24: Revellers take part in the annual Pride Parade on June 24, 2018 in New York City. The first gay pride parade in the U.S. was held in Central Park on June 28, 1970. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)


Jesuit Father James Martin, who has been calling on churches to welcome LGBTQ+ people said the Pope's stance was clear, before adding that Church members and stakeholders including Bishops from various countries who are "violently against" gay civil unions will have to reconsider their own stance on the matter. "He's creating a new space for LGBT people... He's saying it on the record and he's being very clear. It's not simply that he's tolerating it — he's supporting it," said Martin.





Ed Mechmann, director of public policy for the Archdiocese of New York, said the new comments would cause confusion and mayhem in the Catholic community. "I think we have to recognize that the Holy Father has plainly erred," said Mechmann. "Catholics cannot promote the legalization of same-sex unions. But we also have to be clear that he isn't changing the teaching of the Church on homosexuality or same-sex unions in any way."

Pope Francis has a history of being supportive of the LGBT community. In 2013, when asked about his stance on gay people, he said, "You can't marginalize these people. If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?"

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