Mexican Cardinal Endorses Pope’s Support for Civil Unions, Family Inclusion of LGBTQ Members

Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes

A leading bishop in Mexico has spoken favorably about Pope Francis’ support for same-gender civil unions and  his call for families not to exclude LGBTQ members.

“I completely agree,” said Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes of Mexico City interview while commenting on Francis’ civil union remarks made public earlier this fall. Reuters reported further:

“‘All of us are children of god, all are members of the family, and if we’re fighting so that families are united, regardless of their conduct, they don’t stop being our children. And that’s what Pope Francis said, everyone has the right to family,’ said Aguiar.

“The cardinal, who has lobbied against both abortion rights and same-sex marriage, argued that parents should never reject their openly gay children.

“‘Because if, as it happens unfortunately, a son in a family declares himself openly homosexual, then they don’t want to have anything to do with him. And that can’t be, it just can’t be,’ he said, echoing Francis’ sentiments.”

Aguiar was created a cardinal by Francis in 2016.

Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, issued a statement about the cardinal’s most recent comments. David tied Aguiar’s comments to the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, celebrated on December 12th just a few days after the cardinal’s interview, writing:

“These moments validate to LGBTQ Catholics that they are not outsiders in their own faith and that their continued advocacy for equity and inclusion is transforming the Church and the world. As Catholics in Mexico and around the world prepare to honor the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a symbol of hope, justice, and inclusion, we must continue to push the Catholic Church to not only endorse marriage equality but to advocate for the decriminalization of being LGBTQ and comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people.”

Rejection by one’s family on religious grounds is still a key reason why LGBTQ people experience homelessness, abuse, human trafficking, and other ills at much higher rates than the general population. With a new decade approaching, church leaders will hopefully abandon their failed anti-marriage equality politicking of the 2010s in favor of addressing real causes of harm to family life.

While a cardinal’s firm insistence that LGBQ people should be included in families may not seem radical to people who have  adopted LGBTQ-positive views, the fact that this is a rare occurrence is notable. Pope Francis’ words on civil unions and family inclusion are not perfect, but, as they are echoed locally more and more, they will indeed alleviate suffering, heal divides, and make families stronger in the new year.

Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, December 19, 2020

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