Pope Francis supports registered partnerships for same-sex couples, he said in a documentary previewed on Wednesday at the Rome International Film Festival.
"Homosexual couples have the right to form a family. They are God's children and have the right to a family," said the Pope in the documentary "Francesco" by director Yevgeny Afineevsky, making it the first time a sovereign pontiff has declared himself in agreement with civil unions between people of the same sex.
As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis already advocated a civil union for same-sex couples as an alternative to religious marriage between people of the same sex. However, when he became Pope, he had never publicly spoken out in favour of civil unions.
"No one should be expelled from a family or lead an unhappy life," said the Pope. "We must introduce registered partnerships. That is how their rights are protected."
The documentary also follows Chilean Juan Carlos Cruz, a victim of sexual abuse in the church. The Pope had initially said he was convinced of the innocence of the clergy in this case, before acknowledging that he had committed "a serious error" of appreciation.
Cruz, who is gay, told his own story throughout the documentary, as well as describing the evolution of Pope Francis, whom he first met in May 2018, in his understanding of sexual abuse and the stages of the sovereign's reflection on homosexuality.
The film also addresses other social issues that are of particular concern to the Pope, such as the environment, poverty, migration, racial and income inequality and discrimination.
The Brussels Times