In the latest papal interview on February 18, onboard a plane with journalists on the way back to Italy from Mexico, Pope Francis refused to outrightly condemn homosexual “marriages”, saying that the Pope “doesn’t get mixed up in Italian politics”.
A reporter asked the pope for his position on the movement in Italy for the recognition of civil unions for homosexual couples and their rights for adoption of stepchildren, where a bill legalizing is now moving through parliament. Pope Francis refused to comment, responding:
First of all, I don’t know how things stand in the thinking of the Italian parliament. The Pope doesn’t get mixed up in Italian politics. At the first meeting I had with the (Italian) bishops in May 2013, one of the three things I said was: with the Italian government you’re on your own. Because the pope is for everybody and he can’t insert himself in the specific internal politics of a country. This is not the role of the pope, right?
The next questioner mentioned to him the 2003 document of Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, which declares: “When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.”
In response, Francis pleaded a lack of memory: “I don’t remember that document well…” Instead, he responded that “a Catholic parliamentarian must vote according to a well-formed conscience, this I would say, only this, and I speak of a well formed conscience, not what I think or want.”
“Clear and Emphatic Opposition is a Duty”
The same document prepared by then Cardinal Ratzinger and approved by St. John Paul II likewise emphasised that “clear and emphatic opposition is a duty” in the case of legalisation of same sex unions:
In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.
Does the Pope Dabble in Politics?
In reality, the pope has been quite active in the global political scene. He is a strong advocate of the United Nations’ global climate change agenda – writing an encyclical about global warming, as well hosting a first-ever Vatican light show to support the climate change agenda.
He was also very activate in the warming of relations between communist Cuba and the United States, with Cuban dictator Raul Castro publicly thanking the pope for his role in brokering the rapprochement between Cuba and the United States.
More recently, in the same interview where he refused to outrightly condemn the Italian government’s push to legalise homosexual marriages, Pope Francis caused controversy in the American political scene when he suggested that presidential candidate Donald Trump is “not a Christian” because of his plan to build a border wall between the US and Mexico. Trump fired, back, saying “For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful. No leader, especially a religious leader, has the right to question another man’s religion or faith.”
Faithful Catholics can only hope – and pray – that the Holy Father, active and outspoken in the global political scene, will in the future take a stronger stand and condemn homosexual marriages and governments’ efforts to legalise these “unions”.