A number of our parishioners contacted me during the week seeking clarifications on Pope Francis’s comment regarding gay marriage. I guess most of us are aware of the news storm that came out on Wednesday, alleging that Pope Francis has endorsed the marriage. I was initially surprised like many others to hear such news suddenly. However, after reading the news and listening to explanations from different sources, I realized that it appeared his comment was not exactly as the news media portrayed it.
According to one source, the Pope’s comment was made in an interview with Evgeny Afineevsky, director of a documentary, “Francesco,” which premiered on October 21, 2020, on the occasion of the Rome Film Festival (Festa del Film di Roma). Other sources alleged that the interview was actually conducted back in August this year but that the particular portion, containing this comment from the Pope, was not released to the press until October 21, 2020.
The most common explanation I heard was that Pope Francis meant that laws should be made to safeguard the coexistence of gay people with other people in society, so that gay people are not abused for being gay or rejected by their own parents and family circle. In all the explanations, my understanding is that the Pope’s comment was either mistranslated or misunderstood by the press.
According to one source, the exact term that Pope Francis used in Spanish was “Convivencia Civil” which translates as civil coexistence and not civil union as reported. Here is a video by Fr. Augustino Torres, CFR, explaining what the Pope said.
In general, whatever, the Pope said or intended to say does not change the Church teaching on marriage as being between one woman and one man. Regardless of what the Pope said, the timing of the press release at this peak of the political tension in the US is questionable. It is offensive and quite manipulative for anyone to use any particular group of people such as the gay, the black, or any minority group as a political punch bag, setting people against each other in the society. Let us continue to pray for peace and unity in the country, especially as we move closer to the day of election.
We are aware of the many reports of Pope Francis making a statement about same-sex couples and civil unions in the context of a documentary interview. We are unaware of any official statement by the Holy Father or the Holy See about this interview.
The beauty and God-given nature of Marriage being between one man and one woman remains unchanged, and unchangeable, as does the inherent dignity of all human beings, who are made in the image and likeness of God.
We await further clarification from the Holy See on what is being reported in the news about Pope Francis’ statement about civil unions.
I thank everyone who participated in the 54 days of Rosary Novena from August 30 to October 22. Tonight, our Bishop, Thomas Olmsted, is inviting everyone to join in a virtual Rosary Prayer, concluding the Novena. The Rosary will be led by Bishop Olmsted from the Nazareth Seminary Formation House at 6:00pm.
Click here for a list of our upcoming events.
Have a wonderful weekend and Remain Blessed.
Fr. James Aboyi, VC