Further Scrutiny Reveals Murky Marriage Equality Record for Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Days into his papacy, Pope Francis’ record on marriage equality while archbishop in Argentina is being further scrutinized. Bondings 2.0 reported last week on initial reports that the new pope had an anti-LGBT record, specifically on marriage rights, and reactions of the LGBT community to that record. Now, reports indicate a murkier record from the pope on marriage equality that may impact how the Catholic Church responds to the widening legalization of marriage and family rights for same-gender couples worldwide.

Argentina passed marriage equality in 2010, becoming the first Latin American nation to do so. As Cardinal Bergoglio, the new pope postured himself squarely against the measure in the months leading up to the law’s passage. NBC Latino reports on the Argentine LGBT community’s memories of Cardinal Bergoglio:

“[The cardinal] was the visible face of the Catholic Church’s opposition to equal marriage and he approached it from a fundamentalist position, posturing that he had to wage a war of God against what he considered a plan of the devil,” said Esteban Paulon, president of the Argentine Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals… “Despite his conservatism, ‘Bergoglio is known for being moderate and finding a balance between reactionary and progressive sectors,’ Paulon said. ‘When he came out strongly against gay marriage, he did it under pressure from the conservatives.’”

Buzzfeed reports that Cardinal Bergoglio’s efforts were not limited to demonizing same-gender marriage. He also took canonical and political actions to undermine supports of marriage equality within the Church and elsewhere:

“Around the same time as Bergoglio’s letter [which referred to the law as the work of the Devil] reached the press, groups of priests from the cities of Quilmes and Córdoba publically [sic] denounced the church’s position; one priest, Nicolas Alesio, wound up being defrocked for endorsing the marriage law. “When it became clear that stopping the marriage law would be impossible, the church may have tacitly given its backing to a civil union law as a way to head off the marriage bill. Senator Liliana Negre de Alonso, a member of Opus Dei and one of the politicians most closely linked to the Catholic Church, sponsored the civil union bill…It went nowhere… “After that, the church noticeably moderated its tone when fighting social issues.”

Further complicating understandings of Pope Francis is a report in International Business Times that claims Cardinal Bergoglio allegedly supported same-gender marriage as long as these couples were denied adoption rights:

“A news report from 2010 suggests that Bergoglio may support a limited version of gay marriage, a position that would represent a major shift from his predecessors… “While serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, the man who is now Pope Francis appears to have signaled a willingness to accept same-sex marriage with certain restrictions, according to a May 6, 2010, report by the Uruguay-based news agency MercoPress. “”Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio would have accepted homosexual marriage as long as it did not allow adoption, according to sources close to the Argentine cardinal,” the MercoPress story reported.”

While at this point, we only have this checkered record of reports to estimate Pope Francis’ LGBT activities, he could clarify the confusion, by making a wonderful gesture of reconciliation to LGBT Catholics, which New Ways Ministry called for on the day he was elected pope.  The sooner he does something like this, the sooner the record will be clarified, and more importantly, the sooner our hierarchy can begin the process of reconciliation with LGBT people which has been so damaged by our two previous popes.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

0 replies
    • newwaysministryblog
      newwaysministryblog says:

      Yes, Argentina has full marriage equality and adoption equality. It is not a civil unions law. For adoption, gay and lesbian couples can jointly adopt, individual LGBT people can adopt, and a lesbian or gay step-parent can adopt.

      Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

  1. Chris Nunez
    Chris Nunez says:

    I must wonder if you realize how you’ve actually succeeded in making this civil union, marriage, Catholic Church issue every bit as murky as the now-pope’s ‘record’ on this issue.

    Is it an intentionality?

    • newwaysministryblog
      newwaysministryblog says:

      It is not intentional, but, yes, indeed, it is murky. New details seem to be emerging daily. We are trying to get the news to you as quickly as we can, but I can see how that might add to confusion. Pope Francis could clarify his past record by making a gesture or statement of reconciliation to LGBT people.

      Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

  2. jconnolly
    jconnolly says:

    If the “marriage equality” record of Pope Francis is allegedly “murky,” he is still aware of the CCC (sections 2358, 2359) that state homosexuals “…must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided…Homosexual persons are called to chastity.”

    1. Homosexual orientation is morally neutral and not sinful.
    2. Those with such orientation should not face unjust discrimination.
    3. The impossibility of “gay marriage” is not unjust discrimination, but an acknowledgment of the Truth of the revealed Natural Law and the Divine intent for marriage.
    4. Cohabitation of homosexual couples in a committed, chaste loving relationship is not sinful.
    5. Chaste cohabiting homosexual couples do not commit sin by entering into a civil union, which can never be a “marriage” regardless of all the civil laws passed or Supreme Court rulings handed down to legalize what is impossible.

    I have been in such a chaste loving relationship for over 31 years, and I completely accept Church teaching on this matter. “He who hears you hears me.” Luke 10:16. My partner and I have all the legal documents (Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, Advance Medical Directive, Pre-need Guardianship Designation) that all married couples need as well, except for the last one. All of this is really not complicated.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] same-sex marriage. As President of the Bishops’ Conference of Argentina in 2010, he was articulating the words of the Bishops’ Conference. We know from information made public since then, that even in 2010 he personally advocated civil […]

  2. […] is well documented at this point that Pope Francis’ record on LGBT rights is mixed, with harsh comments about same-gender marriage coupled alongside vocal support for civil unions.In […]

  3. […] this week, Bondings 2.0 reported that Pope Francis’ record on marriage equality when he was archbishop in Argentina was not as clear as originally thought. Further revelations […]

  4. […] Francis’ previous statements on LGBT rights are clear, his record on marriage equality less so–and neither are good. With the inaugural Mass concluded, and many ‘firsts’ […]

  5. […] previously reported troubling statements made while archbishop, especially an ambiguous record on marriage equality. However, some observers express hope that Pope Francis will be a pope under whom LGBT issues can […]

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