Well, we didn't see that coming. Pope Francis has come out in support of civil unions for same-sex couples.
In a new documentary on Pope Francis titled, 'Francesco', the film revealed unprecedented commentary made by the pontiff on queer civil unions and rights. “What we have to create is a civil union law,” he says in the documentary. “That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that.”
The film debuted in Rome just yesterday, Wednesday, October 20, and very much against the Catholic Church's archaic stance on LGBTQ+ rights which deems homosexuality “intrinsically disordered”.
Pope Francis continued to state his views on queerness in the church as a whole, “Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family," he explains. "They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it."
While it's not unexpected for the progressive pontiff to hold these beliefs, the unprecedented part was his explicit expression of such stance, one that has never been made so clear in the history of the Vatican. As such, according to the conservative National Catholic Register, his predecessor, Pope Benedict, grossly noted, “not even in a remote analogous sense do homosexual unions fulfil the purpose for which marriage and family deserve specific categorical recognition. On the contrary, there are good reasons for holding that such unions are harmful to the proper development of human society, especially if their impact on society were to increase.”
But Pope Francis is clearly not letting Pope Benedict's values rub off on him. Just this May, the pontiff sent funds to Italian, trans, sex-workers and followed up this month with a meeting at the Vatican, wherein he announced to parents of queer youth that “God loves your children as they are.”
This progression in the catholic church, is, of course, not without fault. While it's important to acknowledge such steps in the direction of equality, it's also worth noting that Pope Francis' stance is solid in civil-union and not same-sex marriage, which signifies his drawing of a line against marriage rights. This reveals a lack of belief that same-sex couples are entitled to marriage equality, and represents the Church’s stance in regards to the institution of marriage, where civil unions are not legally the same as religious unions.
It's unclear if Pope Francis plans to follow up the statements he's made from a doctrine perspective, or whether he is simply making his values clear. Either way, the Pope has spoken, it would be heaven for queer youth everywhere if people could take note (with a grain of salt, of course).
Image credit: @franciscus