“Homosexual people have a right to be in a family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it,” the Pope said in the film, the Catholic News Agency reported.
“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” the Pope said.
Francis has suggested in past interviews that he is not against civil unions, but this is the first time as Pope that he has directly come out in favor of them.
As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis advocated for same-sex civil unions as an alternative when Argentina was discussing whether to legalize same-sex marriage.
Jesuit Father James Martin, who has advocated for the church to welcome LGBTQ people, said bishops from many countries, including some in the United States and Poland, who are “violently against” civil unions will have to rethink their positions.
In the US, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, asked for more clarification, saying the Francis’ comments contradict the church’s teachings on same-sex unions.
“In this case, I think we have to recognize that the Holy Father has plainly erred,” Mechmann wrote in a blog post. “Catholics cannot promote the legalization of same-sex unions. But we also have to be clear that he isn’t changing the teaching of the Church on homosexuality or same-sex unions in any way.”