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Pope Francis endorses same-sex civil unions for first time contradicting church’s teachings

The pope endorsed gay civil unions in a documentary released Wednesday.

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Pope Francis
Pope Francis during weekly general audience at the Vatican, Oct. 7, 2020
(Valicchia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Updated: October 21, 2020 - 5:08pm

In a new documentary released Wednesday, Pope Francis endorses same-sex civil unions, becoming the first pope ever to do so.

The documentary, "Francesco," premiered at the Rome Film Festival and interviews the pope on current issues including the environment, poverty, racial and income inequality and homosexuality. 

"Homosexual people have the right to be in a family," Francis said in an interview for the film. "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."

Pope Francis has touched on other aspects in the political realm in years past, sparking controversy and questions among Catholics.

"The pope's statement clearly contradicts what has been the long-standing teaching of the church about same-sex unions," said Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, R.I., calling for clarification. "The church cannot support the acceptance of objectively immoral relationships." 

 A 2003 document from the Vatican's doctrine office states the church's respect for gays "cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions."

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