In a television interview recorded last year, Pope Francis made clear comments endorsing same-sex civil unions and called for legislation to protect these unions (Associated Press, October 22, 2020). During his time as the archbishop of Buenos Aires, “Francis endorsed civil unions for gay couples as an alternative to same-sex marriages. However, he had never come out publicly in favor of legal protections for civil unions as pope, and no pontiff before him had, either.” In a newly premiered documentary, Francis said that homosexuals “have the right to be in a family, since they are ‘children of God.’” And he went further, saying, “What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”
The footage apparently came from an interview recorded in May 2019 with Mexican broadcaster Televisa. The clip was not originally included when the interview aired, and the Vatican’s official copy of the interview as well as their official transcript do not contain these papal comments. Papal interviews are frequently edited for controversial content, and the footage was obtained by the movie producer, who was given access to Vatican archives. Many observers have noted that the pope’s comments contradict official Vatican teaching.
Francis, believed by individuals worldwide to be “Vicar of Christ,” holds a powerful and authoritative sway over the teaching and doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. If that organization begins to further degrade its stances on the biblical family, biblical marriage between a man and a woman, and the sin of homosexuality, the move will be highly significant. The Roman Catholic Church has a long history of departing from biblical teachings to make proselytizing easier and add “converts” to its membership. If Francis, in an effort to create a more welcoming tone in the church, leads his church even further away from clearly biblical doctrine and morality, what other changes might lie ahead? For more on the future of morality, watch our telecast “The End of Morality?”