Pope Francis caught Catholics and many others with traditional values off guard when, as part of a documentary about his life that was broadcast on Wednesday, he said homosexuals are “children of God” who have a right to a family and that a civil union law is necessary to protect their rights.
His comments have brought support from some, but also significant criticism.
As reported by NBC News, “[R]etired Bishop Arturo Bastes of the Philippines said he ‘had very serious doubts about the moral correctness’ of the pontiff’s position.
“‘This is a shocking statement coming from the pope,’ Bastes told reporters in a cellphone message Thursday, The Associated Press reported. “I am really scandalized by his defense of homosexual union, which surely leads to immoral acts.’
“Catholic teaching holds that homosexual acts are ‘intrinsically disordered.’
“A 2003 document from the Vatican’s doctrine office, then led by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, stated that the church’s respect for homosexuals ‘cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions.’
“Following Francis’ remarks in a documentary, Thomas Tobin, the conservative bishop of Providence, Rhode Island, immediately called for clarification.
“‘The pope’s statement clearly contradicts what has been the long-standing teaching of the church about same-sex unions,’ Tobin said in a statement. ‘The church cannot support the acceptance of objectively immoral relationships.'”
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