"Can I get an Amen?" For centuries there has been a clashing between homosexuality and the church, but the first signs of a union have appeared in a new documentary, "Francesco", playing at the Rome Film Festival.
In the documentary Pope addressed his view on the LGBT community saying, "Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God...You can't kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered."
These statements are a large step, especially since being spoken by the Pope himself. In 2013, when the pope was archbishop, Francis had already expressed support for same-sex unions, but had never explicitly said so until now. In fact, the then-archbishop made headlines after being asked of his opinion on homosexuality and his response, "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?"
Church support can be seen especially helpful for those who grapple with their faith and sexuality. It is important to remember, however, that the Pope continued in the documentary saying, "That does not mean approving of homosexual acts, not in the least."
To clarify, the Pope is in support of civil unions, not marriage. Civil unions, otherwise known as civil partnerships, provide all the protections given to a spouse under state law without the title. They came about for same-sex couples when marriage was not an option. Previously, if a person in a same-sex relationship were to die, their long time partner would end up with nothing. With that said, Pope's "support" can be subjective to some.
Another prominent person in the film was Juan Carlos Cruz who was the whistleblower of a Chilean cleric of which he was sexually abused. Initially discredited by the Pope, the two made up and Cruz reported to Associated Press that the Pope said, 'Look Juan Carlos, the pope loves you this way. God made you like this and he loves you,".
Although not confirmed by the pope himself, this statement goes against the Catholic Church saying that gays did not "choose" to be gay. As far as some LGBT members are concerned, this is still a step in the right direction, sort of.
Executive director of the LGBT Catholic ministry, Fortunate Family, J.R. Zerkowski, says, "Pope Francis has recognized the justice that is given to gay couples by virtue of civil unions."
"I'm delighted that he said the words and that he spoke out as a matter of justice for gay people...I believe it's nothing outside of Catholic social teaching. Shocking as it is, it's sort of not shocking as well. Obviously it's not the first time he's spoken about the topic."
Of course, others point out that civil unions are not the same as marriages and they urge the Pope to keep moving in progress.
What do you think about the Pope's announcement gayes? Are we seeing progress?