Transcript shows Pope’s distinctions between same-sex marriage, civil unions

A same-sex couple is pictured in a file photo exchanging rings during a ceremony in Salt Lake City. In a new documentary, Pope Francis expressed openness to the idea of laws recognizing civil unions, including for gay couples, to protect their rights.(CNS photo/Jim Urquhar, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – When Pope Francis said gay people have a right to be in a family and that gay couples needed some form of civil law to protect their rights, he was not saying that gay couples should have a right to adopt children.
In his documentary “Francesco”, director Evgeny Afineevsky presented the statements as if Pope Francis had said them one right after the other; the director used the quotes immediately following a story about a gay couple with children.
Released on October 21, the film gave some people the erroneous impression that Pope Francis approved civil union laws that would equate gay couples to married couples. Pope Francis consistently has said that gay people deserve love, respect and the protection of the law; however, he has insisted marriage can be only between a man and a woman.
Afineevsky, who a Vatican official said was never granted an on-camera interview with the Pope, pulled the quotes about families and the quote about civil unions from a 2019 interview by Valentina Alazraki, correspondent for the Mexican television station Televisa.
When the Vatican, which filmed the interview, gave Televisa the footage, the quotation about civil unions had been cut.
Catholic News Service obtained the complete transcript of the uncut interview, including the comment about civil unions. The Pope, speaking in Spanish, referred to “una ley de convivencia civil”, literally a “law of civil cohabitation”, but commonly called a civil union.
The clips used in Afineevsky’s film put together quotes from three separate moments of the Televisa interview, so the Pope appears to say: “They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it. What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered.”
At one point in the interview – in the piece aired on Televisa and included in transcript the Vatican originally put online – Alazraki and the Pope spoke about the “journey” of discernment and conversion he called for in his exhortation on the family, “Amoris Laetitia”, and about the habit of referring to certain people as being in “irregular” situations.
“If we were convinced that they are children of God, things would change quite a bit,” the Pope says.
Then he brings up his response in August, 2018, to a journalist who had asked what he would say to a father whose son or daughter tells him he or she is gay.
On the plane returning from Ireland, he had responded: “I would tell him first of all to pray. Pray. Don’t condemn, (but) dialogue, understand, make room for his son or daughter.”
The parent should respond, “You are my son; you are my daughter, just as you are. I am your father or your mother, let’s talk about this,” he had said. “And if you, as a father or mother, can’t deal with this on your own, ask for help, but always in dialogue, always in dialogue. Because that son and daughter has a right to family, and their family is this family, just as it is. Do not throw them out of the family”.
In the interview with Alazraki, Pope Francis paraphrased his earlier responses, saying, “Homosexual persons have a right to be in the family and the parents have a right to recognise this son as homosexual, this daughter as homosexual. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it”.
The Pope explained to Alazraki how upset he was that a newspaper, reporting on his comments on the flight from Ireland, ran a headline saying that the Pope said homosexuals should see a psychiatrist when he clearly meant that if parents see their son or daughter struggling with their sexuality, professional help might be a good idea.
“And I repeated it: ‘They are children of God and have a right to a family,’ and so on,” he told Alazraki.
The interview went on with a discussion about the media taking words out of context, and then Alazraki told the Pope that people say he was a doctrinal conservative when he was in Argentina.
“I am a conservative,” he responded.
Alazraki pointed out that as archbishop of Buenos Aires, he opposed gay marriage.
“I’ve always defended doctrine. And it is curious about the law on homosexual marriage – it is a contradiction to speak of homosexual marriage. But what we have to create is a civil union law, that way they are legally covered. I defended that,” he said, referring to his efforts to support an alternative to legalising gay marriage that would still protect the rights of gay couples when it came to matters like inheritance, health care decisions and visitation when one is ill.

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  1. Bruce Jones says

    The same governing body that legalises abortion, euthanasia, is the same government that legalises gay civil unions.

    This governing body is both Marxist and Secular Humanist influenced, in modern times, as these influences permeate
    right throughout society, in the same way as the mobile phone or Twitter.

    By publicly endorsing a civil union, for whatever reason, it is endorsing this governing body.
    It is giving it leverage which does not belong to it.
    Despite the explanation of the article, many Catholics will see this as yet another emphasis on the acceptance of Secular influences in the church.
    They will see a steady swing away from orthodoxy, and as well a swing towards the denial of Pope Francis to certain mystical elements that
    are the pillars that the church needs.
    Pope Francis is aware of these facts. He has not apologised for certain statements that would never ever have been made by his predecessors.
    A wishy-washy church attracts no one. And lest it is forgotten, the Vatican publishes no stats on the slow deterioration of mass attendance.
    Why give a blessing to a state sanction of civil union? What does this serve?
    Those in same-sex relationships see this as a simple excuse to indulge further and remove any public dislike of their behaviour. The blatant kissing on the mouth
    between same sexes is almost a cliche- all in colour photographs. has the Pope anything to say about that?
    The propaganda approach by the church has worn wafer-thin. The witness is diluted by it.
    Young people for one are not encouraged by this. And most of all, this line of dialogue does nothing for the birthrate.
    Shame in society has been devalued. Shame keeps the sinner away from the sin. A better way is to simply offer all sinners
    an open heart, instead of adjudicating for the state sanctions.

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