Mar 5, 2014

Breaking News: (NOT) Francis says Church could support civil unions of gays

I posted this yesterday, but today Terry Weldon at Queering the Church has offered the disappointing clarification that in fact Francis stopped well short of endorsing gay civil unions.

Read his full article here: 

Pope Francis Has NOT “Supported” Civil Unions – but Catholic Thinking Continues to Evolve

(from yesterday, but not really worth reading after clarification above). Well, this man Francis continues to surprise. Hours after I posted the previous reflections on Francis' disappointing defense of the Church re: it's handling of the sexual abuse crisis, this news hits the airwaves - the first time a Pope has ever (shock, horror) suggested a tentative acceptance of civil gay unions for gay persons as a way of ensuring their 'rights.' Thats right, folks, Francis used the R word. Gay persons have a right to ....well, their fundamental human rights. For many viewing all of this from the outside, it's too little too late and a bit of a ho hum event. And yet it is significant all the same, affirming Terry Weldon's long held convictions that the sexual revolution is upon us in the Catholic Church, as the old positions begin crumbling one by one - albeit through tiny, timid steps. But the cracks are widening, and Pope Francis has just taken a sledgehammer to one of them. This man continues to surprise. 

CNN) - Pope Francis reaffirmed the Catholic Church's opposition to gay marriage on Wednesday, but suggested in a newspaper interview that it could support some types of civil unions.
The Pope reiterated the church's longstanding teaching that "marriage is between a man and a woman." However, he said, "We have to look at different cases and evaluate them in their variety."

States, for instance, justify civil unions as a way to provide economic security to cohabitating couples, the Pope said in a wide-ranging interview published Wednesday in Corriere della Seraan Italian daily. State-sanctioned unions are thus driven by the need to ensure rights like access to health care, Francis added.
A number of Catholic bishops have supported civil unions for same-sex couples, including Pope Francis when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 2010, according to reports in National Catholic Reporter and The New York Times.
But Wednesday's comments are "the first time a Pope has indicated even tentative acceptance of civil unions," according to Catholic News Service.
Pope Francis, who marks his first year in office on March 13, has sought to set a more tolerant tone for his 1 billion-member church and suggested that a broad range of topics are at least open for discussion.
In January, the Pope recalled a little girl in Buenos Aires who told her teacher that she was sad because "my mother's girlfriend doesn't like me."
"The situation in which we live now provides us with new challenges which sometimes are difficult for us to understand," the Pope told leaders of religious orders, adding that the church "must be careful not to administer a vaccine against faith to them."
The Vatican later denied that those comments signaled an opening toward same-sex unions.
Last June, Francis famously refused to judge gay priests in comments that ricocheted around the world. He has also said that the church should not "interfere"in the spiritual lives of gays and lesbians.