CATHOLIC CHURCH; Pope Francis’ support for civil union among same sex couples is a call to justice and nothing new--STEVEN MILLIES

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CATHOLIC CHURCH; Pope Francis’ support for civil union among same sex couples is a call to justice and nothing new--STEVEN MILLIES


 

A  scholar of the Catholic Church and society, STEVEN MILLIES has argued that Pope Francis’ call for civil unions is a way to express what Catholics believe about human dignity in response to new social and political conditions that have brought rapidly changed attitudes toward the LGBT community across the last two decades.

He maintained that the pope’s support for civil unions does not change Catholic doctrine about marriage or sexuality. 

"The church still teaches – and will go on teaching – that any sexual relationship outside a marriage is sinful and that, in the Catholic view, marriage – different from civil unions – is between a man and a woman," he added.

Pope Francis signalled his support for members of the LGBT community to enter civil unions in a new documentary released on Oct. 21. Read details here.

Some Catholics already are voicing their displeasure, fearing the pope’s comments will sow confusion. 

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, went so far as to criticize Pope Francis for “contradict[ing] what has been the long-standing teaching of the church.”

But MILLIES maintained that It wasn’t the first time and Francis has spoken up for civil unions before, as he reminded the film’s interviewer. “I stood up for that,” he said. And, he did – both when he mentioned civil unions in 2017 and before that in 2014. He was supportive of civil unions prior to the papacy, too, when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires.

"So in an important sense, there is nothing to see here – nothing new. Yet Francis’ message here does matter," he stressed.

"As a scholar of the Catholic Church and society, I believe there is a firm foundation to say that what Pope Francis says on civil unions grows directly from church teaching. The “law of love embraces the entire human family and knows no limits,” the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Vatican office concerned with social issues, said in its 2005 compilation of the church’s social thought," MILES said.

Steven P. Millies is an author and political theorist, and currently an associate professor of public theology and director of The Bernardin Center at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, IL (Wikipedia)


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