Vatican says documentary took Pope Francis' civil union remarks out of context

Pope Francis waves to worshipers at the end of the weekly general audience on April 3, 2019 at St. Peter's square in the Vatican.
(Image credit: ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images)

After reports emerged that Pope Francis made some highly significant comments about civil union laws for same-sex couples in a new documentary, the Vatican says he was taken out of context.

Francis was recently reported to have backed civil union laws for same-sex couples in the documentary Francesco, breaking from the Vatican's stance on the issue. Following these reports, the Vatican's Secretariat of State sent out a note last week to ambassadors seeking to explain the comments, Reuters reported on Monday. This note reportedly states that that the documentary spliced together two separate quotes from Francis and created "confusion," also clarifying that the remarks don't indicate a change in Church doctrine.

Francis was quoted in the film as saying, "Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They're children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it."

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The note from the Vatican reportedly says that with these comments, the pope was referring to homosexuals being accepted by their families, as opposed to forming families, Reuters reports. Francis was also quoted in the film as saying, "What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered." The Vatican's note says that a remark from Francis stating that "it is an incongruence to speak of homosexual marriage" was removed, however.

The pope's comments evidently originated in a 2019 interview he conducted with Televisa, and The Associated Press writes that Francis in the interview "made clear he was explaining his position about" a particular case in Buenos Aires when he was archbishop.

"It is clear that Pope Francis was referring to certain state provisions and certainly not the doctrine of the Church, which he has reaffirmed numerous times over the years," the Vatican reportedly said in its note.

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