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Pope Francis: Civil unions pragmatist?

During the 2010 run-up to to legalize same-sex marriage in Argentina, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio denounced the proposal as "a destructive pretension against the plan of God." But in private, former colleagues of say, the cardinal worked earnestly for a compromise on the issue.

According to a report in The New York Times, Bergoglio tried to persuade a 2010 meeting of Catholic bishops to support civil unions for gay couples.

Realizing that the gay marriage measure was sure to pass, the man who would be pope advocated for gay unions as the "lessor of two evils," according to his authorized biographer, Sergio Rubin. “He wagered on a position of greater dialogue with society.”

“Bergoglio’s thinking was very clearly demonstrated both with what he said and in the message of his pastoral work,” said Roxana Alfieri, a social worker in the communications department of the bishops’ central office in Buenos Aires who was present at the 2010 meeting. “He didn’t want the church to take a position of condemning people but rather of respect for their rights like any vulnerable person.”

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