For the first time, Pope Francis has said that civil unions should be approved for same-sex couples to ensure they have legal protection.
His remarks came with the release of “Francesco,” a documentary film about the pope that was screened for the first time Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival.
“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family,” said the pope in an interview held in conjunction with the film. “Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable because of it.”
The documentary from director Evgeny Afineevsky focuses on the life of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Argentinian priest who became pope in 2013.
“Every one of Pope Francis’ journeys to various parts of the world is documented in Afineevsky’s work through images and news footage, and reveals an authentic glimpse into the events of our time,” said Rosetta Sannelli, the creator of the Kinéo Movie for Humanity Award that the film is set to receive on Thursday.
Those journeys have included trips to Morocco, seen above, as well as Egypt, Kenya, Uganda and Central African Republic, and Madagascar, Mauritius and Mozambique. During his 2015 trip to Uganda, gay rights activists there expressed hope that he would speak out on their behalf and condemn discrimination and violent attacks against gay communities.
But Africa’s Roman Catholics remain, by and large, more conservative than many of their co-religionists around the world. At the same time, the African continent has shown the most significant growth of the Catholic faith when compared with the rest of the world, so it remains to be seen how African Catholics will respond to the news.
Image: Vatican file