In a surprising (but welcome) move for the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has announced his backing of civil unions for same-sex couples in a new documentary.
“Francesco,” follows the Pope during his day-to-day life and at larger events. Directed by filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky, the documentary features in-depth interviews with Pope Francis — including remarks made about LGBTQ+ rights both in the general world and in Catholicism.
“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family,” the Pope says in the film. “They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”
Although Pope Francis had endorsed civil unions while serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, this is the first statement he has made on the matter since becoming Pope in 2013. However, this is not his first show of support for the LGBTQ+ community. In May, Francis sent funds to transgender sex workers in Italy at the height of the pandemic, despite controversy. Last month, Pope Francis also held a meeting at the Vatican to tell parents of LGBTQ+ that “Good loves your children as they are.”
It’s important to note, though, that these small displays of support are facing hundreds of years of discrimination from the Catholic Church — including some from the Pope himself. Just last year, Pope Francis released a document calling gender fluidity “nothing more than a confused concept of freedom in the realm of feelings and wants.” He also referred to gender theory as a “world war against marriage” and a sign of Western “ideological colonization” in a 2016 interview.
“Francesco” first premiered in Rome on Wednesday. The documentary is set to premiere in America on Sunday, October 25th on Video on Demand.