“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” With this comment, Pope Francis shook the world and now this. According to the NY Daily News, when “asked whether the church can understand legalizing same-sex unions, Francis said that governments used civil unions to give cohabitating couples economic security and access to important services such as health care. Secular states ‘justify civil unions to regulate different situations of cohabitation,’” he said in a translation provided by the National Catholic Register.
“Marriage is between a man and a woman,” Francis said. But “one needs to see the different cases and evaluate them in their variety.” Pope Francis has laid the grounds for dramatic change globally, with just a few words from this seemingly ultra-wise commoner. He will, I believe be, the ultimate catalyst, for the future of a great many, even beyond any LGBTQ.
Francis stated that he is willing to evaluate the Church’s position regarding same-sex unions.
Francis suggested that he understands the modern need for civil unions—but he isn’t budging on the Catholic Church’s stance against gay marriage. Once again, accept the baby steps.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, the Pope did not affirm same-sex marriage, nor did he announce the Holy See’s support of civil unions. According to The New Your Times, “his words about civil unions actually appeared to be about health care and economic equality, not marriage itself.”
The Catholic News Service reported, the Pope said that moves to “regulate diverse situations of cohabitation [are] driven by the need to regulate economic aspects among persons, as for instance to assure medical care.” Clearly the Pope needs some education to bring him from the nineties to these 21st century commonalities. Today we understand that same-sex relationships and families are manifest in the same way as heterosexual relationships and families.
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 what distinguishes a marriage from a civil union? Should this couple that may receive the blessedness of children be baptized as the offspring or adoption of a civil union, or the full equality that heterosexual marriage brings?
Francis’ Ash Wednesday’s comments are “the first time a Pope has indicated even tentative acceptance of civil unions,” according to Catholic News Service.
Francis’ comments set the internet on fire with support and disapproval coming from both sides.
I belong to a Facebook alumni group for my university, which is a rather conservative institution, and one of the more conservative members stated, “the militant LGBT religion will cause yet another church to split (a schism) and I will stay with the true church (the one that is true to Sacred Scripture). If this is the truth about Pope Francis…you can have him!” I hope the Pope will forgive our recent Anti-scripture shellfish eating contest, combining cotton and polyester fabrics as necessary for the event. Hell is reserved for ignorance and the act of being stagnant, my dear alumni.
The right is already thinking a schism is coming and Francis as a false Pope. But many of us loyal Catholics see Francis as a breath of fresh air in the Church which is seeking a way to return the Church’s LGBT members back to the fold . . . as openly LGBT individuals.
Francis’ openness to members of our community is a beautiful gesture of Christ’s love towards all of us and while I have no clue as to how far he will take reforms, I am blessed to know that Francis is now leading the Church with the grace of the Holy Spirit. For that we can be thankful for.