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ROME: Pope Francis endorsed same-sex civil unions for the first time as pontiff while being interviewed for the feature-length documentary Francesco, which premiered Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival.
The papal thumbs-up came midway through the film that delves into issues Francis cares about most, including the environment, poverty, migration, racial and income inequality, and the people most affected by discrimination.
Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God, Francis said in one of his sit-down interviews for the film. You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.
While serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis endorsed civil unions for gay couples as an alternative to same-sex marriages. However, he had never come out publicly in favor of civil unions as pope.
The Jesuit priest who has been at the forefront in seeking to build bridges with gays in the church, the Rev. James Martin, praised the pope’s comments as a major step forward in the churchs support for LGBT people.
“The Popes speaking positively about civil unions also sends…
LGBTQ Catholics and their allies in the U.S. welcomed Pope Francis endorsement of same-sex civil unions, the first time hes done so as pontiff, while some prominent members including a bishop said Wednesday that he was blatantly contradicting church teaching.
Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, was one of the first conservative Catholic leaders to go public with criticism.
The Popes statement clearly contradicts what has been the long-standing teaching of the Church about same-sex unions, Tobin said in a statement. The Church cannot support the acceptance of objectively immoral relationships.
In contrast, Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry, which represents LGBTQ Catholics, hailed the pope’s comments as a historic shift for a church that has a record of persecuting gays.
It is no overstatement to say that with this statement not only has the pope protected LGBTQ couples and families, but he also will save many LGBTQ lives, DeBernardo said.
The popes comments came midway through a feature-length documentary, Francesco, that premiered Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival.
Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God, Francis says in the film. You cant kick someone out of a family, nor make…