Pope Francis comment on gay unions splits Catholic church
Catholic Church leader Pope Francis’ support for same-sex unions has sparked mixed reactions across the globe.
In a documentary film, Francesco by Avgeny Afineevsky that premiered at the Rome Film Festival on Wednesday, the Pope defended the rights of people in gay unions saying they have a” right to be in a family.
“What we have to create is a law of civil union, they have the right to be legally protected. I have defended that,” the Pontiff said.
However, Zambian Priest Father Eustace Siame yesterday said the Pope’s support for gay families was not an official position of the Church.
“The Catholic Church still remains firm on the fact that same-sex marriages are against the original plan of God and it will never recognise it.
There is no document that the Church has released on this subject. This was in a documentary and he did not say that the Church will now be conducting same-sex marriages, but expressed his opinion on the aspect of acceptance of such unions by the society (Civil).
Even then, it does not mean that the Church will relax its norms on the sanctity of heterosexual marriages as it continues insisting that from the beginning God intended that the union be between male and female (Genesis 2:24),” Siame said.
The Catholic Church in Kenya remained mum over the issue with Cardinal John Njue referring People Daily to the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops secretariat which he said was better placed to respond.
“There is a team at the secretariat which is handling the matter because there has been a lot of debate around it, I think it is better placed to respond,” the Cardinal stated.
Our calls to the secretariat went unanswered but a source revealed that the church was adopting a wait-and-see attitude following reports that the Pope may have been quoted out of context.
In the Philippines, retired Sorsogon Bishop, Arturo Bastes told AP that the pontiff’s statement ran against the long-standing church teaching that only support the union of a man and woman.
“This is a shocking statement coming from the pope. I am really scandalised by his defence of homosexual union, which surely leads to immoral acts,” he said in a cellphone message.
Pope Francis’s biographer, Austen Ivereigh, told the BBC he was “not surprised” by the latest comments.
“This was his position as Archbishop of Buenos Aires. He was always opposed to marriage being for same-sex couples.
But he believed the church should advocate for a civil union law for gay couples to give them legal protection,” Ivereigh said
Under current Catholic doctrine, gay relationships are referred to as “deviant behaviour”.
In 2003, the Vatican’s doctrinal body, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said “respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions”.
However, the Cosmopolitan Affirming Church in Kenya, which endorses sex-same union welcomed the Pope’s sentiment were long overdue and those claiming that he had been quoted were wrong.
“The Church has made a mistake by excluding the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LBGT) community so we are happy that he has recognised that.
We are, however, not surprised because when pope Francis was the Archbishop of Bueno Aires he advocated for the protection of the rights of gay couples,” said David Ochar, CAC co-founder.