In an interview published on the Italian newspaper, Corriere della Serra, Pope Francis affirmed the Catholic Church’s position against same-sex marriage, but hinted that it may support same-sex civil unions.
In the interview, Pope Francis said that matrimony is between a man and a woman, but same-sex civil unions are a way to guarantee health care and property rights. The pope also said that a variety of cases must be looked at and that the Catholic Church could tolerate some unions. The pope’s statement leaves doors open for the possibility of the church supporting gay unions.
Pope Francis was one of the bishops that supported same-sex civil unions back when he was still the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. He also made headlines when he stated in July that he is not the kind to judge gay priests.
In an interview with CNN in 2013, Argentinian LGBT leader and activist Marcelo Marquez said that he received a call from the pope – then Archbishop for Buenos Aires – during the 2010 debate on same-sex marriage. Marquez said that the then-Cardinal told him in the phone call that he is in favor of civil unions for homosexuals and supports gay rights, but he believes that Argentina is not yet ready to have a law on gay marriage.
According to Rev. Thomas Roxia of the Vatican press office, people should not read into what the pope has said in the interview, as he only responded to the interviewer’s questions. Pope Francis also addressed different issues on the interview including sexual abuse, the role of women, and contraception.
The pope was also able to talk about some myths surrounding him, saying that he still calls people who write to him, but denied the rumors that he goes out in the middle of the night to feed the hungry and homeless.
March 13th marks Pope Francis’ first year in office.
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