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Catholics respond to civil union comments

by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 10/22/20, 04:20 pm

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, R.I., said Pope Francis’ statement in support of legal civil unions for homosexual couples “clearly contradicts what has been the long-standing teaching of the Church about same sex unions.” The pope’s comments appear in the documentary Francesco, which premiered in Rome on Wednesday. Bishop Joseph Strickland in Texas called the remarks “confusing and very dangerous.” LGBT activists lauded the remarks as a historic shift. Others say this isn’t anything new—Francis has previously defended laws for civil unions to distinguish them from Catholic marriage.

What does the Vatican say? The Rev. Antonio Spadaro, one of the pope’s communications advisers, dismissed the statements as old news from a 2019 interview with a Mexican broadcaster. When it aired, the interview did not include Francis’ statements in support of legalizing same-sex civil unions, cutting off after the pope said, “I have always defended doctrine” in opposing same-sex marriage in Argentina.

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read Kiley Crossland’s report from 2015 about the broad interpretations of Francis’ prior statements about sexuality.

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Rachel Lynn Aldrich

Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. She is a Patrick Henry College and World Journalism Institute graduate. Rachel resides with her husband in Wheaton, Ill.

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  • JerryM
    Posted: Thu, 10/22/2020 04:33 pm

    The substance of the pope's statements are not consistent with Rev. Antonio Spadaro's.  Effectively, it appears the pope is acting like a politician.  And he is doing this in a way that seriously undermines his role as a spiritual leader.

  • Narissara
    Posted: Thu, 10/22/2020 06:17 pm

    So they edited out what the Vatican didn't want anyone to hear in 2019, but now that he's said it again, what we didn't hear back then is old news?  

  • My Two Cents
    Posted: Fri, 10/23/2020 09:40 am

    Wow. I didn't think a Bishop would question or contradict anything the Pope says. The Pope is the ultimate authority in all things right, wrong or indifferent regarding the teachings of the Catholic church. My opinion of this particular Pope, viewed as a non-Catholic, is he is way more political than any of the previous ones.