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Pope Francis at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. Photo: Vatican Pool - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Pope Francis voiced his support for same-sex civil unions for the first time as pope in the documentary “Francesco,” which premiered Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival, per the Catholic News Agency.

Why it matters: The pope’s remarks represent a break from the position of the Roman Catholic Church, which has long taught that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered" and contrary to natural law.

  • In 2003, under the direction of Pope John Paul II, the Vatican’s Congregation taught that “respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society.”

What he's saying: "What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered," Pope Francis says in the Evgeny Afineevsky-directed film, which is set to premiere in North America on Sunday, per CNA.

  • "I stood up for that," Pope Francis adds, appearing to refer to his reported endorsement of same-sex civil unions while archbishop of Buenos Aires.
  • “Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it,” he says.
  • According to AP, Juan Carlos Cruz, the Chilean survivor of clergy sexual abuse and one of the film's main characters, said the pope assured him in May 2018 that God made Cruz gay.
  • Pope Francis also addresses the environment, poverty, migration, inequality, and discrimination in the film.

Worth noting: It's unclear when the interview featured in the documentary took place.

  • The Vatican did not immediately comment on Pope Francis' remarks. A spokesman told the New York Times that he would not comment until he had seen the film and the pope’s remarks.

Flashback: Pope Francis sparked controversy among Catholics in 2013 for saying, "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
Updated Nov 24, 2020 - World

Tracking Biden's first calls to world leaders

Combination images of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and President-elect Joe Biden. Photo: NZ Prime Minister's Office/Instagram/Joe Raedle/Getty Images

One ritual of becoming president-elect is the carousel of congratulatory phone calls with other world leaders.

What to watch: The order in which the calls are returned is watched closely around the world.

1 hour ago - Sports

The end of COVID’s grip on sports may be in sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Packed stadiums and a more normal fan experience could return by late 2021, NIAID director Anthony Fauci said yesterday.

Why it matters: If Fauci's prediction comes true, it could save countless programs from going extinct next year.

Trump's 2024 begins

Trump speaking to reporters in the White House on Thanksgiving. Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump is likely to announce he'll run again in 2024, perhaps before this term even ends, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Trump has already set in motion two important strategies to stay relevant and freeze out other Republican rivals.