Pope Francis Smiling
Pope Francis' support for civil unions for LGBT couples represents a historic shift for the Catholic Church's position on homosexuality.

Pope Francis made a surprise announcement that has the Catholic world abuzz with controversy. During the filming of a recent documentary, Francis offered his full support for same-sex couples to form civil unions. This policy, if enacted, would provide gay couples the same legal rights and other benefits offered to married straight couples.

The pontiff offered some insight into his reasoning, explaining why he believes gay couples should have equal protections under the law.

“Homosexuals have a right to be part of the family,” Francis said. “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 continued: “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way, they are legally covered. I stood up for that.”

A Historic Shift

While not a full embrace of same-sex marriage, this public expression of support for civil unions represents a significant departure from Catholic teachings and attitudes of the past. It has been the longstanding position of the church that marriage is a sacred act that can take only a single form, with one man and one woman.

Does the pope’s announcement signify change is on the horizon? Could the Catholic church be relaxing its strict teachings on sexual orientation and marriage?

It’s worth noting that this message did not come from an archbishop or minor clergy leader – it came directly from the head of the Catholic church. They say change often starts from the ground up, but not in this case.

Rumbles of Discontent

The news no doubt upset many Catholics who follow closely the faith’s traditional teachings and have long been resistant to gay marriage – or even legitimizing same-sex relationships via civil unions.

It’s also likely that Francis’ announcement is not sitting well with the Vatican’s more conservative factions. They’ve been complaining for years that Pope Francis is too progressive and too willing to upset longstanding norms, and this latest revelation is arguably the most radical of all.

What is your reaction? Are we seeing the beginnings of a transformed Catholic Church, or is Pope Francis an outlier in the Catholic community?

40 comments

  1. Dan Anderson's Avatar Dan Anderson

    So many people who claim to be Christian have not studied the Bible with its historic and cultural writings, yet listen to their pastors, many of them who never studied the Bible's historicity, either. Yes, some have, but the majority have only a cursory education, studying the words, but not the meanings behind the words.

    Pope Francis, on the other hand, has studied the historicity and culture of the writings, and having done so, understands what it actually says. The Bible, if it says anything about homosexuality, is NOT what most people think. For example:

    Leviticus 18:22 - the most used passage to condemn homosexuals - It is condemning the Canaanite religious ceremonial practices of using male temple prostitutes. It has NOTHING to do with two people of the same gender who love each other and are committed to each other.

    Romans 1:26-30 - Saul/Paul was writing about his observations of an ancient Roman fertility ritual to the goddess Diana for improved crops and increased calvings/lambings. This ceremony would end in a massive orgy. Again, nothing about two people who love each other and who happen to be of the same sex.

    1Cor 6:9-10 - About who can enter the Kingdom. Look at KJV1611. It mentions NOTHING about "homosexual". That is in much more recent editions of the Bible where it was ADDED IN.

    Some will scream about Sodom & Gomorrah, saying it was about homosexuality. NO, IT ISN'T! If anyone actually read the Bible, you would see that the citizens of these communities were not very friendly to outsiders, and God warned them not to be so cold to others. It was about inhospitality and rape - NOT about homosexuality. If it were, why would Lot have offered his two daughters to these people?

    IMHO, Pope Francis was doing right on this issue of same gender partnering, much like when he agreed to Evolution being a legitimate science. He has done more for the good of the Catholic Church than anyone since Pope John XXIII.

    1. Antonino Puglia's Avatar Antonino Puglia

      It's about time that the Catholic Church makes changes like this ,Gay people ARE GOD Children and most families in the World have Gay sons and daughters and grandchildren,brothers and sisters ECT.Life is short and look at all the things that are happening in this world,don't judge because no one is perfect,be loving and care 🙏BTW if Priest can get married it would be a great change also 🙏

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    I'm sure his god is pleased with him being as he's the mouthpiece for his god. The Catholic church works in mysterious ways, but then again we have always known that haven't we? Talking about mouthpiece for god, I'm sure Cardinal Pell can affirm to that statement.

    🦁♥️

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      That's certainly something else he could do with his mouth that would get him in less trouble.

  1. Philip Joseph Ryan's Avatar Philip Joseph Ryan

    That's very big of the pope. At least there are more liberal countries that allow a gay marriage, with some churches allowing a gay marriage. Law should allow people to celebrate their love for each other, and if they belong to a church that doesn't allow it, they know that it's time to change for a better one.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      I think the pope is preparing the way for his own gay marriage.

      1. David A Griffith's Avatar David A Griffith

        Carl-

        Could you have written anything more substantial than that? Childish.

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    Catholic Church is losing members, what a great way to increase income. Accept the people, with money you have persecuted for ever. Wonder if this opens the door for priests having accepted same sex relationships with young members of the congratulation? In the past the pope tolerated same sex relationships by priests by keeping it quiet and paying off the victim families.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Child molestation isn't the same thing as two people being in love with eachother.

      1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

        I agree, child molestation is not the same the same as two people being in love. But is is something the Catholic church accepted and paid off victims families for decades. And we know with recently crimes being made public we know the Catholic Church is still allowing it to continue.

        1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

          That makes me wonder what else the Catholic Churchay have been paying off people for. I wonder what a more extensive systematic inquiry would turn up.

  1. Dr. Bob Thomas's Avatar Dr. Bob Thomas

    Scriptures differentiate between the binding of two people together and the binding of TWO BELIEVERS together.

    2 Corinthians 6:14 NASBS Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?

    Those who are "unbelievers" reject ALL of God's Law. And God rejects them because if it. Marriage, therefore, in the eyes of God represents a binding of believers. If only one partner believes, many benefits can come from that union.

    1 Corinthians 7:14 NASBS For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.

    However, if the unbelieving partner elects to leave ...

    1 Corinthians 7:15 NASBS Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.

    This tells us that the bonds of marriage are different for believers and unbelievers.

    If two unbelievers marry, they enter into a secular bond, not a religious bond. While civil authority is supposed to obey God's Law, it does not have to. It is the righteous one that walks with God. And to be righteous, one has to be seperate from the unbeliever.

    2 Corinthians 6:17 NASBS "Therefore, come OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE," says the Lord. "AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you.

    This from the New Testament. The Old Testament is even more specific. You can reference the scriptures yourself.

    So if the same sex couple seek a union, that falls under the responsibility of civil government. God is specific about the requirements of the marriage of believers.

    Do not confuse the two. You must be able to distinguish between what are commands, and what are traditions. Commands carry the weight of God. Traditions are from man.

    After all, Christ came to point that very thing out within the "chosen of God" at that time. They had confused the two and were teaching confusion.

    God is not a God of confusion. If you find yourself, or others, teaching confusion, then you /they have not been sent by God.

    Confusion begins when traditions are taught as commands. You are charged with knowing the difference.

    Let the unbelievers have their own type of marriage. Let them have their traditions. Teach them the consequences. There lies your responsibility. Not in judgement or condemnation. The Lord will judge.

  1. Minister Mike's Avatar Minister Mike

    So the line is finally drawn - marriage is a religious thing, and governments should keep out of it. If you don't want to follow your sect's rules, find a different one.

  1. John Condron's Avatar John Condron

    More conservative elements of the Catholic church will argue that the Pope is considered "infallible" only when speaking "ex cathedra," or “from the chair of St. Peter." The only example of an ex cathedra decree was in 1950, when Pope Pius XII defined the Assumption of Mary as an article of faith.

    Remarks made during the filming of a documentary may have been a "surprise," but they do not constitute an "announcement" of a change in church doctrine.

    Of course, it is hard to imagine why anyone cares what the Pope says about much of anything, given the Catholic church's long-standing support of pedophile priests.

  1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

    He can call all he wants, but unless the country allows it then he has nothing to say about it. And this could very well destroy the Catholic Church as Africa and Latin America countries are not going to stand by for this. If they were then they would have already passed laws allowing this and very few if any have. So this Pope could very well be the last Pope according to the prophecies of Nostradamus and Father Michael Scanlan-Father Joseph Esper-Father Malachi Martin-St. John Paul II which state "A great Schism will occur in the Catholic Church because of false doctrines on Faith & Morals and changes to established church laws and cannons" and for the ones who does not know what schism means, it means a dividing or separating. This could mean a division of the Catholic Church.

  1. Catherine Ohrin-Greipp's Avatar Catherine Ohrin-Greipp

    I spent my elementary and high school years in Roman Catholic schools. I had two great aunts who were nuns and I was on the same path as a child. Asking questions about what I experienced as confusing religious doctrine brought the wrath of abusive nuns who would not answer my questions. I respect the current Pope as he brings humanitarian values to the Roman Catholic Church. No excuse for years of molestation by priests. However, the current Roman Catholics I encounter also respect this pope and his words do matter. He walks the talk and does not discriminate. His words do matter to enlightened Roman Catholics who feel he has done the right and just thing. I consider myself to be a recovered Catholic from years of physical abuse at the hands of monstrous nuns.

  1. Brien's Avatar Brien

    Just a simple observation here. Let's forget the labels such as catholic or Christian or Buddhism or insert organized religious name here, and instead use the more generic descriptive terms club or cult. Tell me, why would anyone wish to join a cult, or club if you prefer, that would show such condemnation and plain hatred towards the way you chose to love? Why? It makes no sense at all. Stop trying to screw with organizations that are filled with so much judgment and disdain. Let them fade out and die off. They lose so many people every year, far more than they gain. Just let the cults, or clubs die off. Why do you even care what their hate filled opinions are? ✌

  1. Clay Serenbetz's Avatar Clay Serenbetz

    It is better to take small steps toward acknowledging all people are loved by God, then no steps. I believe that the Pope had to make this move to maintain the Church's relevance in modern times and to retain its flock.

  1. Ilmenheru Terikson's Avatar Ilmenheru Terikson

    Honestly I think the Pope is maybe not meaning to, making a great point about Marriage. That its time that archaic concept, created entirely to sell off women as property. It has never been about "LOVE" and in fact we modern people understanding that love is as mythical as unicorns, and that psychologically humans are not even meant to be monogamous, should be ended. We should stop calling it marriage. We should make it officially "Civil Union" and make them only able to be performed by civil servants at court houses.

    They have nothing to do with religion, and in fact as we see time and again cultures trying to blend marriage traditions often lead to violent conflict. Instead it should be a local civil matter pure and simple.

    Its time to do away with the wasteful excess of big fancy weddings. Especially if you practice any faith tradition like christianity, then any act of excess or indulgence that could be better spent helping others is literally a sin.

  1. Ralph Miller's Avatar Ralph Miller

    Leviticus 20:13 If a man lies with a man as with a woman,they have both committed an abomination. Don't care about the Pope's personal opinions( Or any other preachers) teach the bible and don't judge.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      How much of that old book, written by men, do you think mankind should be taught? Personally, I’ve always been opposed to stoning people to death, and also slavery, it just doesn’t sit right with me, know what I mean? I also was never really impressed with gods edict for Lot’s daughters to have sex with their dad, but each to their own I guess. Personally, I like to think my morals are better than gods. I think if I ever met him I might stamp on his sandalled feet and punch him on his nose for killing all those first born little children because of his anger management issue.

      🦁❤️

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        I'll hold down that biblical fairy tale god while you beat him up, Lionheart.

      2. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        I agree with you Lionheart, but the god of the Bible couldn't have bought or rented a porn flick, or any other kind movie, without first inventing time travel, which the Bible never spoke of, and he had to have some exciting entertainment, so all three of them could have a holy circle jerk. As above, so below.

    2. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      There are many different sexual positions, and no reason why anyone has to o do it laying down. If a man lays with another man the way the Bible states men and women should have sex it takes most of the fun out of it. They should lay together in other ways.

  1. Steven P Robinson's Avatar Steven P Robinson

    I'm a lapsed Catholic, like to quip that I gave up the Church for Lent in 1975. I've been a conscious heathen since July 1988, after a thoughtful search for a worldview close to my own.

    Which means nothing to the discussion, really.

    However, my 2 best friends besides my wife are a gay couple we've known since college in the late 70's.

    They are both devout Catholics and have never sought marriage as they see it as against Church Teachings to ask for that Sacrament for themselves.

    I hope this opinion of their Supreme Pontiff will help them to seek and gain a formal recognition of the Bond they have had these 40 years.

    I love then both as dearly as I do my wife, brother and sisters. I really believe that my mom would tell them the same thing she told my nephew who came out about 3 years ago; "You are family, I love you, and nothing is going to change that."

    I do hope this Papal opinion does change things for good.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      The only thing I truly ever gave up for Lent was Lent itself, along with the whole damn Catholic religion. Like the song goes: School's out for summer. School's out forever! School's been blown to pieces!!! I especially like that last part. As in the demise of Catholicism. And the walls came tumblin', tumblin' down. That's another good song.

    2. Rev. Robert's Avatar Rev. Robert

      If you believe we are all created by the “everlasting love “ of your Creator, then you must admit that those with different sexual attractions were created and made that way by the same love.

  1. T Kosse`'s Avatar T Kosse`

    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/10/24/1989307/-Health-officials-drop-hammer-on-Charlotte-church-that-triggered-super-spreader?detail=emaildkre

  1. Kassie Bramlett's Avatar Kassie Bramlett

    Isiah 45:7 says god creates evil so if being gay is evil god created it. Cant blame the devil for everything i guess huh?

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    Everything is created in the mind of The All; the ultimate unknowable diety. There is nothing outside of The All.

  1. Tabitha's Avatar Tabitha

    "Civil Unions" are among the greatest "Separate but equal" lies of history meant to discriminate against someone they don't see as equal. Just another version of bigotry, hate, and othering of an entire group of people

  1. Charlene A Hall's Avatar Charlene A Hall

    The Bible was translated by 300 men over a 400 year period, ho0w do we kinow whats is accuract? Everyone translates differently. Only the Old Testament is used too combat same sex relationships, would you trade your daughter for a few head of sheep? My God already died for my sins if you truly believe this is a sin it is forgiven. I myself just had a same sex marriage in Oct. In the eyes of God and government I AM married.

  1. William V Weaver's Avatar William V Weaver

    Tabitha has a point but I think there is another way of looking at it. In the United States, Church and State are separate.In that spirit, all unions by the states are civil unions. Marriages then can be viewed as religious unions recognized by their respective religions. I know this because I was a baptised as an infant by the Catholic Church. I was married by a Unitarian/Universalist minister to a non catholic. We were divorced by the state. The Catholic Church does not allow divorce.They recognize marriages by people of other sects and thus do not recognize them getting divorced. They also do not recognize the marriage of catholics to non catholics , which means they don't recognize their divorce. When she wanted to be married to a catholic, she had to prove that she was never married before in a manner the catholic church recognized. I sent her a baptismal certificate and they "unrecognized" our marriage and divorce. SHe married her catholic in a church and they have been together for about 40 years.

    That was long winded. Sorry. The gist is that the Pope seems to be saying that couples of any kind should be allowed to be married by their government, if not by the catholic church. That is a big step forward and must be heard and listened to by the United States Supreme Court. and other courts.

  1. Rev Robert Don Goodman's Avatar Rev Robert Don Goodman

    In the word of God says one man one woman are to be married together not to men not to women should be married according to the wall of the word of God it is abomination to God with same-sex marriage same sex couple is a against the law study the book of the word of God and you'll find out the answer this is ridiculous get your act together

  1. David L Huey's Avatar David L Huey

    Finally someone with the brains, balls, and authority to show the world that God is more interested in his followers to show mercy and love rather than hate and condemnation towards their fellow man.

  1. Paul Donaldson's Avatar Paul Donaldson

    APPARENTLY, THE WORD 'BIBLE' AND 'WORD OF GOD' ARE USED AS MEANING THE SAME. THE BIBLE WAS WRITTEN BY MEN AND IT A COLLECTION OF NOVELETTES ON HOW TO ACT AND EXPECTED BEHAVIOR FOR THE MASSES, MUCH LIKE A CONSTITUTION. THE ISSUE HERE, IS HOW THAT 'BIBLE' IS INTERPERTED BY VARIOUS SECTS. IT IS REALLY NO DIFFERENT THAN A US SUPREME COURT DECISION.

  1. Kenneth John Granger's Avatar Kenneth John Granger

    Indifferentism is the order of the day it seems. Doesn't matter what you believe, if you do it sincerely. Read Romans 3:18-32. It is not what I think, but what God has written. Most people selfishly consider what they want regardless of God, worshipping the creature more than the creator. But; even for these sins Christ died. Let us fall on our knees before him then, confess our transgressions and worship him, who died for us. Read 1 Peter where it is stated that our sins have been remitted through his blood, the sinner forgiven. Grace has abounded toward us. Should we continue to sin then that grace might abound. God forbid. Consider Jesus and the terrible sufferings he endured on our behalf. Let us not trample him underfoot. See the Good Catholic website and the lectures on sufferings and other subjects of interest to Christians. Let us consider Almighty God and not ourselves. True charity is sacrificial love.

  1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

    Funny thing. Marriages are a legal thing blessed by the church, not the other way around. If a church doesn't want to accept such a thing then they have a right to do that within the church but telling the rest of society what they can or cannot do is just ridiculous.

  1. Larry Mager's Avatar Larry Mager

    I, myself, am thrilled to death, (so to speak) that the Pope is trying to drag the "College of Old Crows" kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. I have no problems with marrying an LGBT couple. I know one couple where the two were Catholic, and they both had been in very bad marriages. One partner, after her divorce ( which the church approved of) transitioned into a Female and married Her Friend who was "straight" (( I HATE such labels). They have been happily married for 15 years now.. The Reverend Troy Perry explained the Leviticus and other Old Testament things in His Biography, "The Lord is my Shepard ((sic) and He Knows I'm Gay". We do have to remember that the OT was written and put together by a Patriarchal society that had basically just won the battle against a Goddess/Matriarchal society. Some of this carried over into the NT law. Consider the phrase for the Holy Spirit in Greek is "Sophia" a feminine name. Think about it: Holy Father, Son, Holy Mother. Think about that for a bit!!!

  1. Princess Onakapomadianna Moore's Avatar Princess Onakapomadianna Moore

    i believe that all though its a strange world that we live in,i truliy believe that pope frances is and may be doing the right thing.i really believe that when you don't understand something you should ask questions,right?well,if a man can tear up your house,rip it off and call you something in the nqame o ourf god,then in the name of our god pope france can make that decisiom on same sex marrages.i don't always say anything,cause nine times out of ten the odds are against me. people nomatter what background they come from,.they always have to remolded you.and i don'y like thbat!i'm a pastor,and i appreciate the pope,cause he's doing a lot to be a part of whaT I AM AS A WOMAN,I DON;T WANT TO FIND OUT THAT MY HUSBAND IS GAY AND DON'T LOVE ME.OR THAT THE MAN OF YOUR DREAMS IS GAY,IF THIS UNION OF GOD BETWEEN MAN&MAN OR Woman&woman it will keep down the volum of vd that can be spreaded to heterolexuzal couples.its safe you know,and they have the logest relationships in the world.like my grandparents that came over here,my grandmother lived to 55 years of age because of sugar diebbities,aND MY GRANDFATHER LIVED TO BE 99 YEARS OLD AND HE HAD AN ACCTDENTAL DEATH,BUT THEY ARE STILL TOGETHER.SO WHY NOT DO THIS????IF ITS SAFE AND THEY CAN PROVE THAT THEY HAVE THE LONGEST MARRIAGES IN THE WORLD WHY NOT??I THANK GOD WHO IS THE HEAD OF MY LIFE AND BRING ME GREAT JOY TO KNOW THAT DURING THIS PANDIMIC THAT THE LIGBATE SOCIETY IS STILL AROUND.EVERYTHING OUT THERE THAT IS STRIAGHT IS NOT FOR NOTHING THAT IS RIGHT.I WOULD LIKE TO FOLLOW THIS STORY TO UN DERSTAND WHAT THE POPE WILL DO.FOR ME WITH THE BLESSINGS FROM ULC AND THE COUNTY,THAT MORE INCOME FOR US.AMEN!!!

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