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Pope Francis wades diplomatically into gay marriage debate

Friday, June 14, 2013

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis waded diplomatically into the gay marriage debate Friday, telling the Archbishop of Canterbury he wants to work together to promote family values “based on marriage.”

Francis, who vigorously opposed gay marriage in his native Argentina, and Archbishop Justin Welby chatted, prayed and had lunch together at the Vatican in their first encounter since both were installed in March.

Welby, the spiritual leader of the 77 million-strong Anglican Communion, has opposed legislation in Britain that would legalize gay marriage, saying it would undermine family life.

He appeared last week before the House of Lords before it moved the gay marriage bill a step closer to becoming law. The legislation would enable gay couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies in England and Wales.

In his remarks to Welby, Francis said he hoped they could collaborate in promoting the sacredness of life “and the stabil ity of families founded on marriage.” He noted that Welby had recently spoken out on the issue, a reference to his House of Lords testimony.

Significantly, though, Francis didn’t say that marriage should be based on a union between a man and woman, which is how Benedict XVI and John Paul II routinely defined marriage.

Vatican officials said it was a diplomatic attempt to make his point without making a provocative pronouncement. Francis has steered clear of the gay marriage debate as it has recently roiled France and Britain, and in general has refrained from making headline-grabbing comments on hot-button current events.

As archbishop of Buenos Aires, however, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio didn’t shy away from voicing strong opposition to gay marriage, though he was pragmatic in sensing Argentina was heading in that direction.

Realizing the church couldn’t win the fight outright, Bergoglio urged his fellow Argentine bishops to lobby for g ay civil unions instead, according to the then-cardinal’s authorized biographer. The bishops shot down the proposal and the church lost the issue altogether when the South American nation legalized gay marriage in 2010 – the first country in the region to do so.

Bergoglio once called gay marriage an “anthropological step backward.”

“If there’s a private union, then third parties and society aren’t affected,” he wrote. “But if they’re granted marriage rights and can adopt, there could be children affected. Every person needs a masculine father and a feminine mother to help them settle their identity.”

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28 more reader comments:

  1. Why do we care what a badly-made-up drag queen wannabe says about anything?

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 10:50am
  2. Shut up, Bergoglio. You don’t rule the world anymore.

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 10:53am
  3. this Pope is ahead of his time. Promoting birth control and he is not against gay people. I support him and he has stated he is not opposed to civil unions! it is a step!

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 10:54am
  4. Ugh.

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 10:55am
  5. Seriously? A LGBT page is so not the place to be transphobic.

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 10:58am
  6. Who cares what this evil empire thinks. It’s none of their business!!! Tax the Churches!

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 10:58am
  7. Watch out. When the Catholic church gets chummy like this, they want something.

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 10:58am
  8. yah jason… they want our money. thats what churches are about … taking your hard earned money.

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 11:00am
  9. How about wading into why the priests are molesting the kids that are in their congregation, that is THEIR bigger issue….

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 11:07am
  10. Hence the “wannabe”. I’m not saying he IS one; I’m saying he’s trying to be one and failing miserably.

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 11:11am
  11. Hey, I represent that remark!

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 11:13am
  12. I think the Church will evolve. It may take time but it will happen. While I understand the horrible things the Church has done, we should not bash the Church just to bash the Church. It does not help us win the minds of others who may be on the fence. I appreciate the good the Church does to help the poor, and other charities.

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 11:13am
  13. The term (like most of pop culture these days, pretty much) dates back to the 80s, when teenage girls were trying to emulate Madonna with notable lacks of success. Someone coined the term “Madonna wannabes”.

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 11:15am
  14. I don’t care what he thinks. A crazy old man in million dollar dresses begging for money..

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 11:21am
  15. Well, not “against” but not “for. I respect his capacity for diplomacy here and for trying not to rile people by being careful with his words. What the article was clear on however was that he would rather settle for a lesser evil, the “civil union”, rather than allowing “marriage”–which many educated know started as a way to disburse property.

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 11:22am
  16. *Just as a clarification, I’m all for LOVE being allowed to marry no matter what sex they are or used to be.

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 11:23am
  17. These men are suppose to be smart but they are as dumb as hell when it comes to LGBT issues. It is hard to believe that they don’t see the number who are leaving the church because of they teaching. If they truly cared about family values like they say they do and speak the words of the Lord they they would be adopting the LGPT community in to the church and trying to increase their numbers. As it stands now the church is all be obsolete and will continue to see they congregation decline in coming years. This is the highest of % of people who say they are not affiliated with an religion.

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 11:43am
  18. This man is saying really wonderful things, at least I think so from what I’ve read. I hope no one shoots him for being so radical.

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 11:53am
  19. Self Loathin asshole.

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 12:06pm
  20. Arika i am embarrased for you.

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 12:11pm
  21. As a Christian supporting marriage equality, I think we need to be patient with the faith community. We’re asking them to change views that they have held for hundreds of years. Rather than get angry, I think we need to show them an abundance of kindness. Hate and anger don’t help anything.

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 12:59pm
  22. Why doesn’t this old bastard shut up!

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 1:08pm
  23. Yeah, like they’ve evolved so far? Now they don’t burn witches. That’s a big step in the right direction. But how many lives did your beloved “Church” murder or ruin during this “evolving”?

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 1:12pm
  24. Egalité pour tous!

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 1:17pm
  25. You are one under-educated person if you think Frankie’s comments are serious. Hey, he’s got almost 2,000 years of torture, murder, and repression to represent!

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 1:17pm
  26. Please Do Not be Fooled a leopard does not change it’s spots! Today 14th June the guy in the Gown Mr Francis waded into the Same sex marriage Debate in the UK with Mr Justin Portal Welby the church of England’s head guy, giving Mr Welby his staunch approval on trying to wreck same sex marriage in Britain…. Birds of a feather bigot together ! ;o(

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 2:26pm
  27. As with American citizen rights for any minority, there can be no half way, no fence straddling. You are with us or you are not. Pure and simple. American citizen rights are a matter of law and entitlement as citizens of the USA, not a matter of personal beliefs, religious or otherwise.Selective or partial equality for any American citizen in unacceptable, as is any suggestion or legislation mandating the same.

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 2:34pm
  28. Side when has Christianity had the right to define marriage? Marriage has been around longer than religion…

    Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 2:38pm