Pope Francis has endorsed same-sex civil unions despite the Catholic church’s teaching on homosexuality.
According to the Catholic News Agency, the religious leader delivered the historic remark in ‘Francesco’, a new documentary on his life and ministry, which premiered at the Rome film festival on Wednesday.
He also called gay Catholics “children of God” and said they should not be thrown out from the religion.
“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it,” he was quoted to have said.
“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that.”
Although, the pope has previously hinted his support of same-sex marriages, this would be the first time he will be giving it a full endorsement.
James Martin, a Jesuit priest, took to his Twitter page to hail the religious leader, saying “Pope Francis’s support for same-sex civil unions is a major step forward in the church’s support of LGBTQ people. It is in keeping with his pastoral approach to LGBT people, including LGBT Catholics, and sends a strong signal to countries where the church has opposed such laws.”
Since his election as pope in March 2013, Francis has sought to adopt a more inclusive tone towards the homosexuals in his public statements.
In 2018, Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivor of sexual abuse who met the pope and also features in ‘Francesco’, said the religious leader told him that being gay did not matter since God made him like that.
“Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care. The pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are,” Guardian UK quoted Cruz to have said.
The pope’s endorsement is also likely to intensify already heated controversy over the Catholic church’s teaching on gay marriages.
The Catholic church has oftentimes opposed legal recognition of same-sex unions. According to its teaching, marriage can only be between a man and a woman.