Pope Francis is well known for his more casual approach to the papacy and tolerant tone toward homosexuality, but a new documentary reveals his support for civil union laws for same-sex couples.
The documentary entitled “Francesco” premiered today in Rome and chronicles the story of how Jorge Mario Bergoglio has addressed issues facing him as the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State.
In the film, Francis reiterated his support for the L.G.B.T. community calling them ‘children of God’ and saying homosexuals have a right to be part of the family of God.
The unorthodox remark came when Francis was asked about pastoral care, and he took the opportunity to directly address same-sex couples.
“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered… I stood up for that.”
The Pope’s comments are a blatant departure from traditional, Christian values and the pope’s predecessors on the issue. While he has previously expressed compassion for the church’s LGBT followers, this is the first time he’s publicly expressed his support for substantive policy.
While Francis was Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 2010, he opposed efforts to legalize same-sex marriage calling it an “attempt to destroy God’s plan.”
Since 2010, Francis has progressively become more outspoken and supportive of the homosexual lifestyle. As was documented in the film, Pope Francis encouraged two Italian men in a same-sex relationship to raise their children in the church. While Francis didn’t state his position on the men’s lifestyle choices, one of the men praised the Pope for his welcoming attitude and encouragement.
The Pope is receiving both praise and rebuke as celebrities, politicians, and fellow Catholics take to Twitter to express their thoughts on the issue.
Ellen DeGeneres thanked Pope Francis for “seeing love for what it is.”
Former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power said the Pope’s words are incredibly powerful.
English Broadcaster Piers Morgan said as a Catholic, the Pope’s comment made him proud.
Conservative commentator Michael Knowles expressed confusion on the Pope’s past stance on marriage.
The point that will be at issue with many in the Catholic Church and Christian community at large is the difference between loving others and endorsing their lifestyle by enacting policies in support of it.