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Pope Francis endorses same-sex civil unions

The Pope made the comments in a documentary released today.

Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

POPE FRANCIS HAS endorsed same-sex civil unions for the first time since becoming head of the Catholic Church.

The Pope made the comments in a documentary called Francesco, which has premiered at the Rome Film Festival.

“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God,” he is quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

“What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”

The Pope previously endorsed civil unions for gay couples while serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, although he opposed same-sex marriages.

The Jesuit priest who has been at the forefront in seeking to build bridges with homosexuals in the Church, the Reverend James Martin, praised the Pope’s comments as “a major step forward in the church’s support for LGBT people”.

“The Pope’s speaking positively about civil unions also sends a strong message to places where the Church has opposed such laws,” he said in a statement.

One of the main people in the documentary is Juan Carlos Cruz, the Chilean survivor of clergy sexual abuse who Francis initially discredited.

Cruz, who is gay, said that during his first meetings in Chile with the Pope in May 2018, Francis told him God made him gay.

He tells his own story in snippets throughout the film, chronicling both Francis’ evolution on understanding sexual abuse as well as to document the Pope’s views on gay people.

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Director Evgeny Afineevsky had remarkable access to cardinals, the Vatican television archives and the Pope himself.

He said he negotiated his way in through persistence and deliveries of Argentine mate tea and Alfajores cookies that he got to the Pope via some well-connected Argentines in Rome.

Afineevsky said in an interview ahead of the premiere: “Listen, when you are in the Vatican, the only way to achieve something is to break the rule and then to say I’m sorry’.”

With reporting from Press Association.

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