- Papal approval came midway through feature-length documentary ‘Francesco’
- The film premiered at the Rome Film Festival, Italy, earlier today
- It is first time Francis has endorsed same-sex civil unions since taking papal role
Pope Francis has endorsed same-sex civil unions for the first time since taking the papal role.
The approval came midway through a feature-length documentary, titled Francesco, which had its premiere at the Rome Film Festival earlier today.
The film 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. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it,’ Francis said in one of his sit-down interviews for the film.
‘What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.’
The Pope’s remarks will come as a shock to millions of Roman Catholics who have long followed the doctrine that gay relationships are sinful and accepted the Church’s stand against the worldwide advance of gay rights.
The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual tendencies are not sinful but that homosexual acts are.
It also instructs that homosexuals should be treated with dignity.
Francis’s predecessors, including Benedict XVI and John Paul II, condemned same-sex marriage during their papal tenure.
Francis himself had opposed legislation to approve same-sex marriages in Argentina when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires a decade ago – but had supported some kind of legal protection for the rights of gay couples at the time.
However, shortly after becoming Pope, he said of gay people that ‘we must be brothers’.
He added: ‘If a person is gay and seeks God and has goodwill, who am I to judge him?’
Papal biographer Austen Ivereigh told Reuters that the pope’s comments made in the film were some of the clearest language the pontiff has used on the subject since his election in 2013.
The pope, who early in his papacy made the now-famous ‘Who am I to judge?’ remark about homosexuals trying to live a Christian life, spoke in a section of the film about Andrea Rubera, a gay man who with his partner adopted three children.