Pope Francis has expressed support
for civil unions in the Catholic Church. Once again, the pontiff has
sent shockwaves across the globe to 1.3 billion of his followers with
another LGBTQ-affirming statement. However, this one might very well
create talks of a schism in the Catholic Church, as we have seen in
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 be made
miserable over it,” Francis said in the new documentary
“Francesco” by Oscar-nominated director Evgeny
Francis’s statement is not a Hallelujah moment for many LGBTQ
Catholics, but rather it is celebrated with cautious optimism.
true, the Pope’s comments could represent an international
game-changer and a major step forward for LGBTQI equality,”
said Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of DignityUSA in a
press release. “Civil unions laws can provide essential legal
protections to LGBTQI couples and their children. We hope that
Catholic officials worldwide will work to provide essential legal and
social protections for LGBTQI people and their families.”
statement about civil union doesn’t mean he or the church
embrace marriage equality.
between people of the same sex? ‘Marriage’ is a
historical word. Always in humanity, and not only within the Church,
it’s between a man and a woman… we cannot change that.
This is the nature of things. This is how they are. Let’s call
them “civil unions,” Francis stated, according to New
Ways Ministry, a pro-LGBTQ Catholic organization.
marriage equality is out of the question, can the LGBTQ community
trust Pope Francis to follow through on civil unions? Regrettably,
Francis has shown to be the consummate flip-flopper who has been
consistent in his inconsistency toward us.
recall remarks Pope Francis made while flying home after a weeklong
visit to Brazil in 2013, responding to a question about a possible
“gay lobby” in the Vatican. His answer set off global
I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay
and being part of a lobby,” he said. “If they accept the
Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them?”
public statement then was the most LGBTQ-affirmative one the world
has ever heard from the Roman Catholic Church. It was partly in
response to “The Advocate,” a nationally renowned LGBTQ
magazine, naming Pope Francis their 2013 “Person of the Year.”
since 2013, Francis has come out of the closet displaying his true
feelings concerning the LGBTQ community, especially his denunciation
of transgender rights. Would trans couples be afforded civil unions?
Pope Francis has compared transgender rights to nuclear weapons,
saying transgender people destroy and desecrate God’s holy and
ordained order of creation.
“Let’s think also of
genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender
theory, that does not recognize the order of creation.” In
2015, Francis stated in an interview with the National Catholic
Reporter in 2015. “With this attitude, man commits a new sin,
that against God the Creator. The true custody of creation does not
have anything to do with the ideologies that consider man like an
accident, like a problem to eliminate.”
some LGBTQ Catholics, Francis’s statement is merely lip-service
since the Catholic Church still excludes the LGBTQ community from
officially receiving any sacraments. Since 2015, DignityUSA, an LGBTQ
faith organization headquartered in Boston, has been advocating for
“sacramental equality” in the Catholic Church. Now, with
COVID-19 hitting the LGBTQ community globally as hard as other
minority communities worldwide, Francis should speak up on this
urgent issue to change a homophobic church to open its heart and
is simply cruel and shameful to refuse burial or Communion to those
who seek the grace and comfort that our Church offers at some of the
most difficult moments of life. This is reminiscent of the appalling
practice of denying Communion, funerals, and burial to people dying
of AIDS at the height of the epidemic,” Duddy-Burke stated in
2015 that still holds true today.
Francis opposes marriage equality and transgender rights, what does
his pronouncement endorsing civil unions really mean?
some, it is the hope for policy change in the Church, eventually
leading to marriage equality. To me, it’s lip service, again.
Francis continues to command attention worldwide with his
liberal-leaning pronouncements. However, the pontiff is a
complicated, if not confusing, figure to the LGBTQ community, because
Francis is not a reformer. On the surface, Francis displays a
pastoral countenance to his papacy that seemingly extends to our
community, while cloaking the iron-fisted Church bureaucratic that he
is. In truth, his welcoming tone doesn’t match up with the
unwelcoming church policies he upholds - especially when it comes to
“the family of God,” meaning LGBTQ Catholics, too.