Pope Francis Suggests Catholic Church Might Support Civil Unions

Pope Francis suggested in an interview on Wednesday that the church might consider supporting same-sex civil unions, CNN reports:

FrancisOn gay marriage, the Pope reiterated the church's longstanding teaching that "marriage is between a man and a woman." However, Pope Francis said, "We have to look at different cases and evaluate them in their variety."

For instance, civil unions provide financial security to cohabitating couples, "as for instance in medical care," the Pope said in a wide-ranging interview published Wednesday in Corriere della Sera, an Italian daily.

According to the Pope's biographer, then Cardinal Borgoglio has supported the idea of civil unions in Argentina when faced with the unstoppable passage of same-sex marriage in 2010.


  1. Richard says

    The pope’s opinion regarding the civil rights of gays and lesbians is irrelevant. He’s not our religious leader, he’s the Catholics’. They can have him — and his opinions.

  2. Canny says

    Yeah, but, keep religion out of politics. You’re not allowed to tell me that I can’t get married. You’re just not. Case closed.

  3. Steve says

    Marriage is a state institution. Holy Matrimony is a Christian institution.

    Time Christians learned the difference between the two.

  4. Ryan says

    I think this is great news. It’s progress, a step forward. If the Catholic Church comes out for civil unions today, it won’t be so long until it supports marriage equality.

    That would be a game changer on the world stage. The single biggest source of opposition to LGBT rights — religion — would see one of the world’s biggest religions become LGBT friendly. It’s not there yet and wouldn’t be there even with civil unions, but the road would be paved.

    Almost as importantly, there are probably millions of gay teens and young adults who are Catholic around the world and have to deal with all kinds of internal and external stife because of it. The Pope coming out for Civil Unions would send a huge message to those kids that they’re okay. It may even save lives.

    We should be ecstatic about the prospects of this happening from many different angles. I’d certainly applaud the Pope if he came out for Civil Unions.

  5. woody says

    also, civil unions are probably coming to italy as the new matteo ricci government has put them on it’s agenda.
    so, this might be a recognition of that.

  6. simon says

    There must be some misunderstanding here. He can’t support civil union. “cohabitating” means these couples only “entitled to friendship” according to Tim Donut. Anything beyond that is against Church’s teachings and a sin. Also “long standing” must mean less than 50 years. Before that no one has even thought of gay marriage.

  7. says

    Well said.

    Francis is testing the waters. But the simple fact that he’s doing that is tremendous. To have gone from being labelled the anti-Christ by his predecessor Benedict to acceptance of families as civil unions by Francis is unheard of in Church precedent. My take is that he’s trying to be a peacemaker. Not church blessed marriage (yet) but accepting of a fully legal and protected status.

    Church doctrine of intrinsically disordered can’t stand long once this is achieved. It’s just waiting for the other steps to be taken. Once he stops suggesting and makes it policy I’ll be first inline to give him his due.

    LOL. Scalia must be apoplectic. The other shoe is dropping Antonin.

  8. Hey Darlin' says

    Don’t forget the power he has to sway popular opinion for our brothers and sisters overseas especially. We have come pretty far as a movement to garner even a “civil union” support from the pope himself.

  9. Tim says

    he is just pullin your wonker. Catholics hate gays and gay marriage. He will be long gone and there will still not be support for that.

  10. says

    We’ve done the impossible. We’ve changed the Church!
    2000 years of oppression just came to an end.

    For us is America this might not sound like much and it’s definitely not our final goal of full equality but for emerging countries in Africa this could be a life saver.

    When the largest denomination of one of the Abrahamic based religions does a complete reversal of it’s historic treatment of homosexuals that is monumental.

    Do it Francis. Be the agent of change that helps the world become a better place for everyone. That’s your true Papal calling.

  11. lou says

    I wonder if Brian Brown has the phone number for the Pope? And I wonder if he has a land line or a cell phone (the Pope, not Brian).

  12. JackFknTwist says

    Sorry, I just cannot believe the time of day out of a Jesuit’s lips.

    I know it’s the twenty first century but I have learned my history lessons:
    the Jesuits were instrumental in the Revocation of the Treaty of Nantes, which had given toleration to the Huguenots. The Jesuits were never into actual toleration; just the sound of it.

    The Jesuits, of whom the Pope is one, like to sound so reasonable.
    Where has their support of gays been , say in the last twenty years ?
    Where are the Jesuit statements on AIDS ?
    Where is their outrage on the intolerance of Nigeria, Uganda, Malawi ?

    To quote a deceased English Harpie :
    : You can all turn if you want to; this Lady’s not for turning.”

    Come out with a decisive statement supporting the absolute equality of gays, their rights and their entitlements. Get a majority of Bishops who support you and then call a Council to repudiate the horrors of the Church over the years against children, women and gays,……then I will reconsider the sincerity of of such tentative weasel words.

  13. Gregory In Seattle says

    I wasn’t aware that the Catholic Church’s approval was necessary for ANY civil law.

  14. simon says

    Not That Rob:
    Let me “clarify” what Tim meant. Catholics mean the Catholic Church. No doubt most of the Catholic bishops are against gay marriage or civil union. It is unclear what kind of concensus exist in the upper echelon of the Church. My feeling is that most bishops will take things in their own hands and “reinterpret” what the Pope meant. He was after all elected by the Bishops whom the Pope cannot ignore.

  15. AG says

    “Come out with a decisive statement supporting the absolute equality of gays, their rights and their entitlements.”

    And 2 years ago you were ready to vote for Barack Obama who was against the equality of gays at the time. Was it you who told me that you would lie about anything if it brought about Obama’s reelection?

  16. Mitch says

    Good luck getting the American Catholic branch of Sheeple to swallow this bit of Kool Aid.

  17. says

    I know some Catholic School kids that are going to be excited. You had a hand in this change Eastside Catholic. #ChangeTheChurch is your legacy and your building block for the future. Your millennial message that voices united and raised to do good can in fact change the world.

  18. RayRay says

    And the other option again was what … Mitt Romney?
    Don’t you ever get tired of carrying that water bucket for your oppressors?

  19. MArk says

    Maybe he’s saying it in regard of what’s happening in Russia and Africa (and maybe the states too), you know, sending a message about what is and what’s not christianity; I mean people are being killed in Africa for being gay, that’s an extraordinary instance, i’m sure if you are the pope you must have some ethical dilema about it

  20. CB says

    There is a reason why many churches are against sanctioning gay marriage and it has nothing to do with the Bible, it is also the reason they are against abortion of any type. ‘The church is a business which relies solely on procreation to exist.’

  21. simon says

    I don’t know this Pope. Historically most Popes were indifferent to atrocities that happened around the World even within his own Church. I don’t expect any Pope to have higher moral standard than others.

  22. Bill says

    @simon : it’s not like a pope can do much about atrocities that happen around the world. After World War II, when Stalin suggested something during negotiations between the winners, someone reputedly said, “I don’t think the Vatican will go along with that.” Stalin replied, “How many divisions did you say the pope has?” “Uncle Joe” was not one to mince words.

  23. will says

    From a CNN article:

    “Later on Wednesday, a Vatican spokesman sought to clarify the Pope’s remarks.”

    “The Vatican later denied that those comments signaled an opening toward same-sex unions.”

  24. Bill says

    To be fair, if this one flies, the next step would be for the pope to declare that the Catholic church considers all non-Catholic weddings to be civil unions, thus sidestepping the whole same-sex marriage issue without having to back down: if a government calls it marriage, it is simply “giving to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” and they can ignore it for religious purposes.

  25. Bill says

    To be fair, if this one flies, the next step would be for the pope to declare that the Catholic church considers all non-Catholic weddings to be civil unions, thus sidestepping the whole same-sex marriage issue without having to back down: if a government calls it marriage, it is simply “giving to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” and they can ignore it for religious purposes.

  26. simon says

    “historically” I mean the whole history of the Church. It is 2000 years old. It doesn’t really have any moral authority. Any one will be shocked at what happened and the kind of atrocities it committed. There are a lot of books on it e.g. the one by Christopher Hitchens. Even the most sympathetic Church historian cannot hide it without outright lying. By the way the Popes in the Middle Age did have army divisions.

  27. simon says

    It is obviously not true that “it’s not like a pope can do much about atrocities that happen around the world.”
    The most recent example is what happened in Uganda. There are a lot of Catholics there. Yet it seems that the Pope is totally silent on the situation there.

  28. John Stefanyszyn says

    “Pope Francis” (Jorge Bergoglio) said that it is “RIGHTS” that are causing the acceptance of state sanctioned unions.
    Jorge Bergoglio may not accept homosexual marriages within his “Catholic religion” BUT he does accept it as a “RIGHT”.

    AND Jorge Bergoglio believes in his RIGHTS also….the right of religious freedom for the Catholic religion…and consequentially also the freedom of all religions.

    He is in fact confessing that it is RIGHT to be free to worship ANY ‘god’.

    BUT the Lord Jesus Christ said that we are to worship the One Lord Creator God and Him Alone, His Will Alone to serve in obedience.

    Soon, The One King Jesus Christ will return to rule the earth in power according to and in obedience to the Will of Yehowah Elohim and NOT according to man’s first love for his “freedom – RIGHTS”.

    John Stefanyszyn
    …a bondman of the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the One Almighty Creator

  29. William says

    For what it’s worth, I read the interview. I didn’t read in it an explicit approval of same-sex civil unions, though I did read a pastoral compromise with civil unions. I’ll have to go back and read it again.

    I honestly think same-sex civil union was read into the pope’s comments by media and took a life of its own.

  30. acorlando says

    Every marriage is created by the state and occurs when the officiant declares, “By the power vested in my by the state of X, I declared you married.”
    Oh, I long for the day when states will deny churches the privilege of being marriage officers and require it to be done by a civil employee. Of course, if a couple wants to have a separate matrimony ceremony at their church…have at it.

  31. JackFknTwist says


    You can not be serious .

    And WTF is ‘a bondman of the Lord Jesus…..’.

    I thought Jesus was a poor preacher……now he has ‘bondmen ‘ ??