Pope Expresses “Breathtaking” Openness to Possibility of Support for Same-Sex Civil Unions Says Gay Catholic Group

~~DignityUSA, March 5, 2014.

In an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, published March 5, Pope Francis made groundbreaking statements that suggest the possibility of support from the Vatican for civil unions between same-sex couples. In general, the Vatican and Catholic bishops around the world have previously attacked the notion of civil unions, along with same-sex marriage. In the recent interview, the Pope acknowledged efforts to establish civil unions as a way to “regulate economic aspects among persons, as for instance to assure medical care.” Asked how the church can respond to this situation, he elaborated, saying, “It is necessary to look at the diverse cases and evaluate them in their variety.”

Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Directory of DignityUSA, reflected, “On one level, this is breathtaking. We’ve seen a few other Catholic bishops and officials express an openness to the viability of civil unions, including for same-sex couples, but this coming from the Pope? Never before. There’s a fearlessness about this man. He welcomes open debate among his brother bishops. He himself is not afraid to look at the world in its diversity and concrete situations, and then ask, ‘Can we do better for this world?’

“Statements like this have real impact when they translate into policy around the globe,” Duddy-Burke continued. “Will this become a call for Catholic bishops to end their campaigns against marriage equality, which have done so much damage to families in many countries?”

“But let us be clear,” she added. “Everyday Catholics are the ones who continue to lead the way for the Catholic Church with regard to this issue and others that affect LGBT persons. It is the faithful who most often understand the wholeness and holiness of LGBT lives and loves. We who are LGBT Catholics, we who are family and friends to LGBT persons, we will continue to show a dimension of God’s face to the rest of the Church and to the world. If our leaders take notice of this and listen, what a further blessing!” 

~~DignityUSA is the nation’s leading organization of LGBT Catholics and their supporters. Founded in 1969, it is a founding member of the Equally Blessed coalition