Pope’s gay civil union comments taken out of context

The Vatican says comments by Pope Francis on civil union laws in a documentary last month were taken out of context and did not signal a change in Church doctrine on homosexuals nor support for same-sex marriage.

It said Francis did not question the Catholic dogma of marriage being between a man and a woman.

“It’s clear that Pope Francis was referring to certain arrangements by states, certainly not to Church doctrine, which has often been reaffirmed over the years,” the Secretariat of State wrote in a note sent to papal ambassadors late last week

A recent film, “Francesco”, which premiered last month, spliced together parts of an old interview with a new one.

The Vatican secretariat of state says in the film Francis’s comments on gay marriage refer to his position on gay marriage in 2010.

At the time he strongly opposed allowing same-sex marriage but favoured extending legal protections to gay couples under a civil union law.

While Francis was known to have taken that position privately, he had never articulated his support while as pope.

His private views are contrary to Catholic doctrine.

The pope’s comments made headlines, primarily because the Vatican issued a document prohibiting such endorsement in 2003.

The document says the church’s support for gay people “cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions.”

The uproar following the pope’s comments gained more attention because “Francesco” director Evgeny Afineevsky misled journalists.

He claimed Francis made the comments to him and he had in two on-camera interviews with him.

In fact, Francis’s comments were taken from a May 2019 interview with Mexican broadcaster Televisa. They were never broadcast.

The Vatican has not commented on reports saying it cut the quote from the footage it provided to Televisa after the interview, which was filmed with Vatican cameras.

Afineevsky apparently was given access to the original, uncut footage in the Vatican archives.

The secretariat of state says the quote came from a 2019 interview. The comments used in the documentary spliced together parts of two different responses in a way that removed crucial context and has led to confusion, the secretariat says.

In the film, Afineevsky recounts the story of Andrea Rubera, a married gay Catholic who wrote Francis asking for his advice about bringing into the church his three children with his husband.

Rubera says Francis urged him to approach his parish transparently and bring the children up in the faith, which he did. The film then cuts to Francis’ comments from the Televisa interview.

“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God,” Francis said.

“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.”

Francis was not endorsing the right of gay couples to adopt children, though Rubera’s story made it seem so.

His comments about gay civil unions came from a different part of the Televisa interview and included several caveats that were not included in the film.

He made clear he was explaining his position about the unique case in Buenos Aires 10 years ago, as opposed to Rubera’s situation or gay marriage as a whole.

He says he always maintains Catholic doctrine and that there is an “incongruenza” for the Church as far as “homosexual marriage” is concerned.

The documentary eliminated that context.


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , ,