News: Reaction on Pope's Statement
October 21, 2020
Following news reports about a statement from Pope Francis on marriage, Bishop William Joensen shares the following thoughts.
In itself, the statement of the Holy Father regarding civil unions drawn from the recently produced documentary is surprising, and for many Catholics seeking to be true to Christ’s teaching, troubling. It seems that he was offering a longstanding personal opinion and not invoking his office to issue an authoritative teaching. One is led to speculate: perhaps he is simply trying to dissociate the Church’s practice of sacramental marriage between a woman and a man from those unions recognized by the state that entail social and economic benefits for individuals in households who would otherwise not be afforded them? Regardless of his intent, surely he and all Christians are called to recognize all individuals, including those who self-identify within the LGBTQIA+ community, as children of God bearing ultimate dignity and full members of the human community meriting respect and protection from ostracism or harm. As with his previous, often-cited “Who am I to judge?" comment, which was lifted out of context and given a very different interpretation than what the Holy Father was addressing at the time, we will all need to examine the larger context of this conversation and look for Pope Francis to provide further clarification before offering further comment.