There have been a flurry of stories reporting that, in 2010, when he was still a cardinal, Pope Francis supported the idea of civil unions for homosexuals.
What are we to make of this?
Getting the Facts
A starting point is trying to get the facts on the matter, as best they can be known.
According to press accounts, back in 2010 when the Argentine government was in the process of approving homosexual “marriage,” then-Cardinal Bergoglio suggested the possibility of civil unions for homosexuals as a way of keeping homosexual marriage from being made legal.
He was absolutely adamant on the impermissibility of homosexual marriage, stating:
In the coming weeks, the Argentine people will face a situation whose outcome can seriously harm the family…
At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.
This is not simply a political struggle, but an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is not just a bill but a move of the Father of Lies, who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”
Apparently, his discussion of civil unions occurred in a meeting among the Argentine bishops in which they were strategizing how to block homosexual marriage.
The others, apparently, voted against Cardinal Bergoglio’s suggestion, and it wasn’t acted on publicly.
Some, including a homosexual activist, have said that the cardinal discussed it with them in private, however.
Now that he’s been elected pope, some are trying to spin this as evidence of him being “flexible” on the issue and open to “dialogue” on the subject and as “seeking compromise” and “reach[ing] out across the ideological spectrum”–all ostensibly being signs that he may propose the same thing as pope, presumably on a global scale.
The same voices have also been contrasting this approach with the inflexible approach of Pope Benedict.
Let’s deal first with the core issue and then the spin that’s being put on it.