Pope Francis: Same-Gender Couples “Live the Gift of Love” and Deserve Protection

Pope Francis has reaffirmed his support for same-gender civil unions, writing that “it is right” that such couples “who live the gift of love can have legal coverage like everyone else.” He made other LGBTQ-positive remarks as he marks eleven years as pope this past week

An autobiography by Pope Francis, titled Life: My Story Through History, will be published next week. Ahead of its release, the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera published excerpts from the memoir that was co-written with a journalist-friend of the pope’s, Fabio Marchese Ragona. The autobiography is wide-ranging and ties Francis’ life to world events, exploring topics as diverse as his grandparents’ migration to Argentina, a Communist professor he had, struggles during Argentina’s “Dirty War,” trials in Jesuit life, and the pope’s love for soccer.

Francis also used the memoir to opine on contemporary, often controversial topics. According to the excerpts in Corriere della Sera, the pope spoke about LGBTQ+ inclusion generally and, more narrowly, defended his support both for civil unions and Fiducia Supplicans, the Vatican declaration allowing queer couples to be blessed. Francis wrote at varying points (via Google Translate):

“[On civil unions:] It is right that these people who live the gift of love can have legal coverage like everyone else. Jesus often went out to meet people who lived on the margins, and that is what the Church should do today with people from the LGBTQ+ community, who are often marginalized within the Church: make them feel at home, especially those who have received baptism and they are to all intents and purposes part of the people of God. And whoever has not received baptism and wishes to receive it, or who wishes to be a godfather or godmother, please be welcomed.”

“[On Fiducia Supplicans]: I just want to say that God loves everyone, especially sinners. And if brother bishops decide not to follow this path, it does not mean that this is the antechamber of a schism, because the doctrine of the Church is not called into question.”

“[On inclusion:] I imagine a mother Church, which embraces and welcomes everyone, even those who feel wrong and those who have been judged by us in the past. I think of homosexual or transgender people who seek the Lord and who have instead been rejected or chased away.”

There is more good news for LGBTQ+ Catholics and allies in the memoir, too. Pope Francis was adamant that he was not considering resigning because currently no “serious reasons” exist “despite moments of difficulty.”

Each year, the anniversary of Francis’ installation as pope elicits numerous commentaries about his impact and legacy. Bondings 2.0 in past years has likewise done so in past years to explore his record on LGBTQ+ issues. And, indeed, his record is complex and not always positive, particularly on gender identity. But one simple evolution should not be overlooked or undervalued: his two most recent predecessors referred to love between two people of the same gender as “intrinsically disordered”; Pope Francis instead sees in such couples “the gift of love” worthy of care and protection.

Robert Shine (he/him), New Ways Ministry, March 15, 2024

Related Articles

National Catholic Reporter, “Pope acknowledges criticism, health issues but says in upcoming memoir he has no plans to retire

Vatican News, “Pope: ‘I’m not considering resigning but would be ‘bishop emeritus of Rome’

4 replies

    We have come a long way since 1977 when John McNeill was silenced by the Vatican during the winter of Paul VI’s reign. And a long way from the 1986 papal document on homosexuality, and from John Paul II’s outrage at the international gay march in Rome during his 2000 Holy Year.

    We still have a long way to go, but Francis’ response to LGBTQ+ people and relationships, and his blessing of those such as Sister Jeannine Gramick and others who have ministered to the Queer communities, has charted a path into the future for the Catholic Church. For that, I am profoundly grateful.

  2. Vincent Couling
    Vincent Couling says:

    Pope Francis says of gay couples in civil unions: “It is right that these people who live the gift of love can have legal coverage like everyone else.” What some have characterized as intrinsically evil and objectively disordered, he has characterized as springing from the gift of love, i.e. from God. Gay people living out their lives as God intended, and flourishing in a way that nurtures both them and the society the find themselves in.

    Fr James Alison has just published a remarkable reflection on “Fiducia Supplicans and the LGBT endgame in the Catholic Church”, which explores where things are at … here is the URL: https://jamesalison.com/spirit-witness-and-learning/


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