News & Politics

Rejoice! Pope Francis Hints The Catholic Church Could Accept Gay Civil Unions

Still, the progressive Pontiff claims he is no superman.

Photo Credit: Chidell

The Catholic Church may be opposed to gay marriage, but Pope Francis created waves this week when he hinted in an Italianinterview that the church could tolerate same-sex civil unions, CNN reported.

After reaffirming the Church’s longstanding position that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, the Pontiff went on to discuss civil unions:

"The secular states use civil unions to accommodate various arrangements of living together, driven by the need to regulate the economic relationship between people, such as ensuring health care. These are pacts of coexistence of various kinds, of which I could not identify the different forms.  We have to look at different cases and evaluate them in their variety,” CNN reported.

When pressed to clarify his latest remarks, the Pope refrained.

"The Pope did not choose to enter into debates about the delicate matter of gay civil unions," a Vatican spokesman said. "He emphasized the natural characteristic of marriage between one man and one woman, and on the other hand, he also spoke about the obligation of the state to fulfill its responsibilities towards its citizens."

While his comments are somewhat vague, it is at the very least an implied admission by the Pope that there is the possibility of acceptance of civil unions by the Church.

And it's not the first time the progressive Pope has signaled tolerance for same sex unions.

Last year, he famously cautioned the Church that it could lose support in the modern era if it focused too much on enforcing rules against homosexuality, famously declaring “Who am I to Judge?” with reference to gay clergy.

In addition, Pope Francis also weighed in on the church’s response to sexual abuse by priests:

"The Catholic Church is perhaps the only public institution to have acted with transparency and responsibility. No-one else has done more," Francis said, “Yet the Church is the only one to have been attacked.”

The Pontiff has become somewhat notorious during his short papacy for his outspoken views on contraception, gay rights and abortion, but downplayed the mythology of him as anything more than human, Huff Post reported.

"To depict the pope as a sort of superman, a sort of star, seems offensive to me. The pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps tranquilly and has friends like everyone else, a normal person," he said.


Jodie Gummow is a senior fellow and staff writer at AlterNet.