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Pope Francis at the Basilica of Santa Maria. Photo by Grzegorz Galazka//Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

The Vatican has said Pope Francis' comments in support of civil unions for homosexual couples were taken out of context and do not signal a change in Church doctrine on homosexual acts, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The pope’s apparent remarks in the documentary "Francesco" sparked celebration and controversy, as they appeared to represent a break from the Church's position that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered" and contrary to natural law.

  • Last week, the Vatican’s Secretariat of State sent an “explanatory note” to its ambassadors claiming that two separate quotes were spliced to appear as one, according to Reuters.

What the Pope supposedly said: “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,” Pope Francis appears to say in the film. "What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered."

  • The documentary’s director, Evgeny Afineevsky, told reporters he interviewed the pope for the film, but journalists found the footage in an unaired 2019 interview with Mexican broadcaster Televisa.
  • The Vatican claims that the pope said “it is an incongruence to speak of homosexual marriage,” but that part was cut, according to Reuters.

What the Vatican is saying: “It is clear that Pope Francis was referring to certain state provisions and certainly not the doctrine of the Church, which he has reaffirmed numerous times over the years,” the note said.

  • Afineevsky has not responded to questions about the cut quote and has refused to discuss the editing process, according to Reuters.

Go deeper

Pope Francis congratulates Biden in phone call

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden spoke with Pope Francis on Thursday, thanking him for "extending blessings and congratulations" and praising the pope for his leadership in "promoting peace, reconciliation, and the common bonds of humanity around the world," according to the Biden transition team.

The big picture: Biden will be the second-ever Catholic president, joined only by John F. Kennedy.

20 mins 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.