Vatican Says Church Does Not Support Same-Sex Civil Unions

by : Emily Brown on : 02 Nov 2020 14:20
Vatican Says Church Does Not Support Same-Sex Civil UnionsPixabayPA Images

The Vatican has said the Catholic church does not support same-sex civil unions despite previous quotes from Pope Francis indicating otherwise. 

Francis made headlines last month following the release of the documentary Francesco, in which he said that ‘homosexual people have the right to be in a family.’


He described gay people as ‘children of God’ and said the church has to have a ‘civil union law’ to allow same-sex couples to be ‘legally covered.’

Pope FrancisPA Images

The Vatican has now attempted to clarify the quotes in question, saying they were taken out of context from an old interview and did not signal a change in Church doctrine on homosexuals or support for same-sex marriage.

According to Reuters, Francis’ comments were explained last week in a note sent by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, which stated that two separate quotes from Francis, made in response to two separate questions, were spliced to appear as one.


The documentary apparently deleted context and questions to create the widely quoted comment.


The note, shared on Facebook by the Vatican’s ambassador to Mexico, explained that the first quote taken from the pope came when he was referring to the right of homosexuals to be accepted by their own families as children and siblings.

It further clarified that Francis’ comments referred to his position in 2010, when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires and strongly opposed moves to allow same-sex marriage. The pope instead favoured extending legal protections to gay couples under what is understood in Argentina as a civil union law.


One particular phrase said to have been cut involved Francis saying it is an ‘incongruence to speak of homosexual marriage.’

The note added:

It is clear that Pope Francis was referring to certain state provisions and certainly not the doctrine of the Church, which he has reaffirmed numerous times over the years.

Pope Turns Vatican City Palace Into Refuge For Poor And HomelessPA images

The director of Francesco, Russian-born American citizen Evgeny Afineevsky, refused to discuss the film’s editing process following its release on October 21.

Afineevsky was found to have misled journalists by claiming he had conducted interviews with the pope, before it emerged the comments were taken from a May 2019 interview with Mexican broadcaster Televisa that were never broadcast.

The note was sent to the Vatican’s ambassadors, who passed it on to bishops. It was reported on by papal biographer Austen Ivereigh before being confirmed by a Vatican source today, November 2.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, or email [email protected]

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: News, Catholic Church, Now, Pope Francis


  1. Reuters

    Vatican moves to clarify pope's comments on civil union laws