Understanding Francis on civil unions

Apart from posting some pages from The Great Reformer on how Cardinal Bergoglio confronted the challenge of same-sex marriage issue in Argentina in 2010 and commenting in some interviews, I didn’t say much last week about the row over Francis’s remarks in the new documentary Francesco.

There was some excellent commentary, but I still felt Francis’s thinking on this issue hadn’t been quite captured. So I wrote this article at Commonweal magazine called ‘Defending Marriage is Not Enough: How to understand Pope Francis’s remarks on civil unions’.

Isn’t it ironic? From all sides what Catholics seem to want is for the pope to judge gay people and their relationships—to condemn their sex as immoral, or to declare it innocent—while what the pope tries to do is follow Jesus into realities that demand responses that are not about judgement, norms, and law. He goes to the pain and needs of gay people and of others left outside the Christian understanding of marriage. And from there he asks: What does God want? What does their dignity call for? What elements of good are there—love, self-sacrifice—that the law must respect and encourage?