Pope Francis has indicated that he believes that same-sex couples should be allowed to have civil unions.
These statements appear in a documentary directed by Evgeny Afineevsky. According to its observers, these depart from previous comments on LGBT rights and are the clearest opinions the Pope has shown regarding gay relationships so far.
In the film released on Wednesday, Pope Francis said: “Homosexual people have a right to be in a family”.
Moreover, he affirmed that the members of the LBGT group are also children of God and have the right to a family. “Nobody should be thrown out or made miserable over it,” he said.
Pope Francis also added: “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered”.
According to his claims, he stood up that, apparently referring to his time as archbishop of Buenos Aires. Besides, he added that he supported some legal protections for same-sex couples although he legally opposes marriage for them.
Francesco, a film about the life and work of Pope Francis, premiered as part of the Rome Film Festival.
In addition to exposing the Pope’s comments on same-sex civil unions, it also shows him encouraging a couple of two gay men with three children to attend church.
Austen Ivereigh, a biographer of Pope Francis, said he was not surprised by his latest comments. “He was always opposed to marriage being for same-sex couples. But he believed the church should advocate for a civil union law for gay couples to give them legal protection,” said Mr. Ivereigh.
Besides, he added: “This was his position as Archbishop of Buenos Aires.”
Current Catholic doctrine refers to gay relationships as deviant behavior.
In 2003, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the Vatican’s doctrinal body) said that respect for homosexual persons cannot in any way lead to the approval of homosexual behavior or the legal recognition of same-sex unions.
Pope Francis’ comments have indeed generated many contrary opinions among Vatican observers.
It is his first endorsement of the LGBT community as Pope and, without a doubt, his words will be welcomed by liberals and rejected by conservatives.
However, a doctrinal change implies a more formal process with a lot of internal debate. Therefore, there are no signs that it may be imminent.