Pope Francis’ call for civil union laws for same-sex couples celebrated as ‘glorious day for Catholicism’

Francis, while serving as the archbishop of Buenos Aires, endorsed civil unions for same-sex couples as an alternative to marriages -- but he had never come out in favor of such unions as Pope before this

Pope Francis’ call for civil union laws for same-sex couples celebrated as ‘glorious day for Catholicism’
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Pope Francis drew applause across the internet after calling for the passage of civil union laws for homosexual couples in a documentary that aired in Rome Wednesday, marking a major milestone for the church and departing from a long-held position of the Vatican doctrinal office.

“Homosexuals have a right to be part of the family,” the pontiff reportedly said in 'Francesco', a documentary about his life. “They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.”
 
“What we have to create is a civil union law,” he added. “That way, they are legally covered. I stood up for that.” Francis, while serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, endorsed civil unions for same-sex couples as an alternative to marriages -- but he had never come out in favor of such unions as Pope, according to the Catholic News Agency.

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Pope Francis waves from the Popemobile on his way to attend the Via Crucis on Copacabana Beach during World Youth Day celebrations on July 26, 2013, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Getty Images)

Speaking to Reuters, papal biographer Austen Ivereigh said Francis' comments in the documentary hugely clarified his views on the subject since his 2013 election. 'Francesco' is directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky, a Russian-born Jew. It depicts Francis as the "great connector" and touches on some of the world's most pressing problems such as "the growing rich-poor gap, racism, climate change, sexual abuse, migration, human trafficking, political polarization, and relations between Christians, Muslims, and Jews," NBC News reported.

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In one section of the movie, Francis speaks about Andrea Rubera, who adopted three children with his gay partner. Rubera reportedly explained to the Pope in a letter that the couple wished to raise the children as Catholics in the local parish -- but were concerned about how they would be received.

Several days later, the pontiff telephoned him and told him how he was moved by the letter he had written. Francis urged the doting couple to introduce their children to the parish, but to be prepared for any opposition. Rubera later said they took the papal advice and were glad they did.

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That said, the movie also features Juan Carlos Cruz, a Chilean survivor of clergy sexual abuse, who recounts his first meetings with Francis in 2018 when the pontiff assured him that God had made him gay.

Pope Francis waves from the Popemobile as he drives around Tokyo Dome before conducting Mass on the third day of his four-day visit to Japan, on November 25, 2019, in Tokyo, Japan. (Getty Images)

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Twitter was engulfed with reactions following the Pope's unprecedented message. "Where does this leave anti-gay Catholic conservatives in the U.S. who are still using federal court system (and pushing to appoint new anti-gay judges to it) to try to restrict/eliminate gay rights?" reporter Eric Lipton tweeted.

"If I was Pope Francis I would tweet 'gay rights!' and turn off my phone," another user added. "This is revolutionary from Pope Francis. He endorsed gay civil unions, something the Catholic Church has always rejected, ostracized, and, sometimes, demonized. What a glorious day for Catholicism However, this will enrage the (ultra) conservative wing in the Vatican against him," journalist Antonella Guerrera chimed in.

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"Ahh. Yes. Catholics melting down because the pope endorses civil unions. Seems like some people are more attached to their bigotry than their faith," author Roxane Gay wrote. "Pope Francis: 'gay people are the children of God.' Evangelicals: 'so now EVERYONE'S going to get rights??!?!'" author Adrian Zuniga quipped. 


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"Ahh. Yes. Catholics melting down because the pope endorses civil unions. Seems like some people are more attached to their bigotry than their faith," author Roxane Gay wrote. "Pope Francis: 'gay people are the children of God.' Evangelicals: 'so now EVERYONE'S going to get rights??!?!'" author Adrian Zuniga quipped. 


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