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Pope shows progressive streak, backs LGBTQ+ civil unions

By Raymond Dai and Natalie Gao Dec. 9, 2020

In a Vatican-approved documentary called "Francesco," Pope Francis made headlines after expressing approval of same-sex civil unions, even calling for modifications to civil union laws. Almost immediately, members of the Catholic Church voiced their discontent, noting that Francis' statement clashes directly with past doctrines. However, others across the globe congratulated the Pope for recognizing what they believe to be an

essential human right. Jessica Lin Art


Soon after Pope Francis made these comments, however, the Vatican declared that they were taken out of context and did not change official Church doctrine. Conservative-leaning officials like Bishop Thomas Tobin of Rhode Island reiterated the position that opposing legal recognition of same-sex marriage is

Jessica Lin Art necessary to prevent the devaluation

of unions between men and women.

Still, many across the globe see the

Pontificate’s admission as historic.


Even before he became Pope, Francis expressed support for the LGBTQ+ community. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Francis publicly endorsed same-sex legal arrangements. After ascending to his current position in 2013, the Pope also stated that he would not judge same-sex couples, asserting that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are children of God.


Besides covering same-sex unions, the "Francesco" documentary also highlights the Pope’s efforts in addressing climate change, geopolitical polarization and ethnic justice, providing insight into his stances on various social issues. In 2019, Francis became the first Pope to travel to the United Arab Emirates. With over a hundred thousand people in attendance, he celebrated mass with migrant workers escaping anti-blasphemy laws. He also sympathized with Myanmar's Rohingya community and Lesbos refugees, contributing to an overall reputation for promoting inclusivity as Pope.


“Combined with the rest of his progressive policies, the Pope’s statement on same-sex unions is likely to change views around the Catholic Church as an entirely different institution,” Sophomore Nora Thomas said.


Although official Catholic Church doctrine cannot be simply altered by papal decree, several members of the Church have called for a re-evaluation of what they believe to be antiquated belief systems, especially concerning issues of sexuality.

Regardless of his verbal support for same-sex unions, church teachings have not changed, holding marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Many within the church hierarchy have continued to maintain Catholicism’s view of traditional marriage. Although official Catholic Church doctrine cannot be simply altered by papal decree, several members of the Church have called for a re-evaluation of what they believe to be antiquated belief systems, especially concerning issues of sexuality. Archbishop of Washington D.C. Wilton Gregory affirms the Church’s need for reexamination and development, a possible step towards fully accepting the LGBTQ+ community, which may have further consequences for marriage, personhood and celibacy.


Pope Francis’s comments bring about conversations that have been delayed within the Catholic Church ever since the Vatican’s official opposition towards gay marriage in 2003.

Pope Francis’s comments bring about conversations that have been delayed within the Catholic Church ever since the Vatican’s official opposition towards gay marriage in 2003. As LGBTQ+ support amongst believers remains split based on worldwide regions, ethnic backgrounds and individual upbringings, according to the Pew Research Center, the Papacy and the Church will have to face the questions that have already divided various clergy.


“Although the Catholic Church does not have the greatest relationship with the LGBTQ+ community, Pope Francis’ actions could be a push towards more tolerance and acceptance in the Catholic Church for believers around the world. Based on traditional Catholic precedents, the Pope’s stance is likely to face even more backlash, but this brings about necessary positive change,” Junior Vandan Patel said.

 

About the Contributors

Raymond Dai

Staff Writer


Raymond Dai is a sophomore at Leland High School and a Staff Writer for the Charger Account. He likes to play video games, play badminton and go out biking in his free time.








Natalie Gao

Staff Writer


Natalie Gao is a sophomore at Leland High School and a staff writer. She likes playing Tetris and making mac and cheese in her free time.

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