In a recent documentary, Pope Francis has said that he thinks same-sex couples should be allowed to have “civil unions”.
The Pope made the comments, which observers say are his clearest remarks yet on gay relationships, in a documentary directed by Evgeny Afineevsky.
He said in the film, which premiered on October 21: “Homosexual people have a right to be in a family.
“They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or made miserable over it.
“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered.”
Pope Francis added that he “stood up for that”, apparently referring to his time as Archbishop of Buenos Aires when, although opposing same-sex marriages in law, he supported some legal protections for same-sex couples.
The film Francesco, about the life and work of Pope Francis, premiered as part of the Rome Film Festival.
As well as the Pope’s comments on civil unions, the film also shows him encouraging two gay men to attend church with their three children.
Under current Catholic doctrine, gay relationships are referred to as “deviant behavior”.
In 2003, the Vatican’s doctrinal body, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said that “respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions”.
The Pope’s comments are the latest in a series of sentiments he’s expressed about LGBT rights – voicing some support, but not a full endorsement.
In 2013, in the book On Heaven and Earth, the Pope said that legally equating same-sex relationships to heterosexual marriages would be “an anthropological regression”.
The Pope also said then that if same-sex couples were allowed to adopt, “there could be affected children… every person needs a male father and a female mother that can help them shape their identity”.
That same year, Pope Francis reaffirmed the Church’s position that homosexual acts were sin, but said homosexual orientation was not.
“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” he asked.
In 2014 it was reported that Pope Francis had expressed support for civil unions for same-sex partners in an interview, but the Holy See’s press office denied this.
Then in 2018, the Pope said he was “worried” about homosexuality in the clergy, and that it was “a serious matter”.