What Robin Williams said
Pope Francis has made statements supporting civil unions for LGBT couples in a documentary.
But for my brother beating me to the punch on Facebook, I’d be calling this, “Fabulous.”
I am not sure if this will end up being a matter of official doctrine, but it is a welcome development.
I expect to that many of the conservatives in the church to push back against this hard.
They tend to follow the Pope only it is convenient for them:
Pope Francis expressed support for same-sex civil unions in remarks revealed in a documentary film that premiered on Wednesday, a significant break from his predecessors that staked out new ground for the church in its recognition of gay people.
The remarks, coming from the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, had the potential to shift debates about the legal status of same-sex couples in nations around the globe and unsettle bishops worried that the unions threaten what the church considers traditional marriage — between one man and one woman.
“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” Francis said in the documentary, “Francesco,” which debuted at the Rome Film Festival, reiterating his view that gay people are children of God. “I stood up for that.”
His conservative critics within the church hierarchy, and especially in the conservative wing of the church in the United States, who have for years accused him of diluting church doctrine, saw the remarks as a reversal of church teaching.
“The pope’s statement clearly contradicts what has been the longstanding teaching of the church about same-sex unions,” said Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, R.I., adding that the remarks needed to be clarified.
Francis had already drastically shifted the tone of the church on questions related to homosexuality, but he has done little on policy and not changed teaching for a church that sees its future growth in the Southern Hemisphere, where the clerical hierarchy is generally less tolerant of homosexuality.
The remark “in no way affects doctrine,” the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, a Jesuit priest and close ally of Francis, told the television channel of the Italian bishops conference on Wednesday evening.
In 2010, as Argentina was on the verge of approving gay marriage, Francis, then cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires, supported the idea of civil unions for gay couples.
“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family,” Francis says at another point in the documentary. “They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.”
Church teaching does not consider being gay a sin, but it does consider homosexual acts as “intrinsically disordered” and by extension holds that a homosexual orientation is “objectively disordered.”
Church doctrine also explicitly states that marriage is between a man and a woman, a teaching Francis unwaveringly supports.
Francis’ predecessors had also expressed their opposition, though, to civil unions.
The important question is whether or not Francis will follow through.
If he does not make an effort to add an official imprimatur these statements will mean nothing.