The Vatican says Pope Francis’ comments in support of same-sex civil unions were taken out of context and do not represent a change in church doctrine, according to a new report.
In a letter to papal representatives last week, Vatican leaders said the pope’s comments on gay unions during a 2019 interview “has led to confusion” and were a reference to a 10-year-old debate over a same-sex marriage law in Argentina — not the current state of affairs, CNN reported Monday.
“More than a year ago, during an interview, Pope Francis answered two different questions at two different times that, in the aforementioned documentary, were edited and published as a single answer without the proper contextualization, which has led to confusion,” the Oct. 30 letter from the Vatican’s Secretariat of State said.
“It is clear that Pope Francis was referring to certain provisions made by states, and certainly not the doctrine of the church, which he has reaffirmed numerous times over the years,” the letter said.
The 83-year-old pope made the comments in a film titled “Francesco” by Russian-born director Evgeny Afineevsky, which premiered on Oct. 21.
The footage was from a 2019 interview on Mexico Televisa, CNN said.
“Homosexuals have a right to be part of the family,” the pope said in the film. “They’re children of God and have a right to a family.”
“What we have to create is a civil union law,” he added. “That way they are legally covered … I stood up for that.”
The comments sparked criticism from Roman Catholic leaders, who said they caused “confusion and error” in defiance of church teachings.
“Such declarations generate great bewilderment and cause confusion and error among Catholic faithful,” Cardinal Raymond Burke, a member of the Vatican’s highest court, said in a statement last week.
Pope Francis has suggested in past interviews that he does not oppose civil unions, a radical departure from his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who called homosexuality “an intrinsic moral evil” during his tenure at the Vatican.
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