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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 10 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 02
Vatican denies Pope is open to same-sex civil unions
Section One
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Vatican denies Pope is open to same-sex civil unions

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The Vatican has denied Italian media reports that Pope Francis might be open to legal recognition of same-sex civil unions. Matteo Renzi, head of Italy's Democratic Party, announced in December that his party would introduce civil union legislation.

The Pope was quoted in a Jesuit publication on January 3 saying that the Catholic Church should try not to scare away children in 'complex family situations.'

'The situation in which we live now provides us with new challenges which sometimes are difficult for us to understand,' the Pope said, according to the transcript of the conversation.

'How can we proclaim Christ to these boys and girls? How can we proclaim Christ to a generation that is changing? We must be careful not to administer a vaccine against faith to them,' he said.

The Pope then used the example of a little girl in Buenos Aires, his former diocese, who confided to her teacher that she was always sad because 'my mother's girlfriend doesn't like me.'

The Pope added that it was a challenge for the Church to reach out to children living in difficult or unorthodox domestic situations.

Italian media ran headlines on January 5 asserting that the Pope's remarks signaled an openness to the possibility of same-sex civil unions. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, then-Cardinal Jorge Maria Badoglio suggested that civil unions would be preferable to same-sex marriage when Argentina passed its marriage equality law in 2010.

Vatican officials immediately denied the reports, however.

Papal spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi told Vatican Radio that media interpretations were 'paradoxical' and a 'manipulation' of the Pope's words, particularly as some media quoted him as speaking specifically of same-sex unions, which he did not.

Lombardi said the Pope was merely 'alluding to the suffering of children' and not taking a stand on the political debate on civil unions in Italy.

In July, the Pope caused a media sensation when he remarked that 'If a person is gay and seeks God and has goodwill, who am I to judge?'

In that case also, Vatican officials quickly issued a statement that the Pope's remarks did not change Church doctrine that Gay sex acts are sinful, even if a Gay sexual orientation is not.

In December a Maltese bishop who had a private conversation with the Pope said Francis was 'shocked' by a bill legalizing adoptions by same-sex Maltese couples. The Pope urged him to speak out against the measure, Bishop Charles Scicluna reported.

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