ROME — Pope Francis endorsed gay civil unions for the first time as pope while being interviewed for a feature-length documentary that made its premiere at the Rome Film Festival on Wednesday.
The papal thumbs up came mid-way through “Francesco,” which delves into the environment, poverty, migration, racial and income inequality and other issues Francis cares about most.
“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God," Pope Francis said. “What we have to have is a civil union law, that way they are legally covered.”
While serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis endorsed civil unions for gay couples as an alternative to same-sex marriages.
The Archdiocese of Omaha released the following statement in response:
The pope’s reported statement on civil unions was made in the context of a secular documentary. No one at the Archdiocese of Omaha has viewed the documentary in question, nor has the Archdiocese received any communication on this issue from the Holy See. It is worth noting that the pope does not use secular documentaries to offer definitive teaching on matters of faith and morals.
The Archdiocese of Lincoln also offered a statement regarding the Pope's endorsement:
Pope Francis reportedly made a statement on the issue of civil unions in a documentary film. The Diocese of Lincoln has not received any information or communication from the Holy See regarding this issue. The question of civil unions for same-sex couples, nevertheless, remains distinct from the question of marriage. The unchanging, definitive doctrine of the Catholic Church is that God has created marriage as a permanent, life-giving bond between one man and one woman.