Pope Francis has publicly supported same-sex civil unions for the first time while in office, declaring that “homosexual people have the right to be in a family”. His comments were made in a documentary, Francesco, which premiered at the Rome Film Fest today.
Directed by Russian filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky, the feature doc is an intricate look into the beliefs of the leader of the Catholic Church, during which the Pope covers topics including the environment, poverty and racial inequality, discussing how the human race can prepare for a better future.
“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. 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,” the Pope has been quoted as saying in the film by numerous outlets including AP.
He also said that he “stood up for” legal protections for the rights of same-sex couples in his previous role as archbishop of Buenos Aires. During that time, he publicly supported civil unions for gay couples, though he has also been quoted in the past as calling heterosexual marriages “an anthropological regression”.
The film also features Carlos Cruz, a Chilean survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of the clergy, who has met the Pope on several occasions and tells his story in the doc.
Director Afineevsky spoke to media ahead of the film’s premiere to discuss gaining access to the Pope. He said the two became so close that he showed Francis the film on his iPad ahead of the premiere. “Listen, when you are in the Vatican, the only way to achieve something is to break the rule and then to say, ‘I’m sorry,’” he told AP today.