By Father KENNETH DOYLE
Q. Why is the Pope approving of civil unions for homosexuals? Isn't this still one of the deadly sins? (Lexington, Indiana)
A. First, to clarify: I have never seen homosexuality mentioned as one of the seven deadly sins. In fact, many people with a homosexual orientation are celibate. The seven deadly sins are commonly listed as pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony and sloth.
Now, to the matter of Pope Francis' recent quote. A documentary entitled "Francesco," released in Rome in October of 2020, quoted a comment the pope made in a 2019 interview with the Mexican network Televisa.
There, the pope said, "Homosexual people have a right to be in a family. They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it. What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered."
In saying this, Pope Francis was not changing the church's moral teaching or its understanding of marriage. Marriage is an indissoluble union between one man and one woman, a union open to the transmission of life; as a result, gay marriage is unacceptable and Pope Francis has often affirmed that.
In the quote in question, he was speaking simply of the need to provide legal protection for the rights of nonmarried people living together in a stable way -- rights, for example, involving inheritance, health care decisions and visitation when one is ill.
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Questions may be sent to Father Kenneth Doyle at firstname.lastname@example.org and 30 Columbia Circle Dr., Albany, New York 12203.