Pope Francis became a trending topic once again after the premiere of the documentary film Francesco wherein he said that homosexuals have a right to be a part of a family and therefore should not be discriminated for it.
But contrary to the circulating news, the Pope has not diverted from Catholic teachings as he has not spoken nor endorsed anything about homosexual marriage in the Catholic Church. Instead, he spoke of the right of every human being to be a part of the family and to raise children without discrimination and ostracization in society.
As such, it should be reminded that Pope Francis has frequently affirmed the doctrinal teaching of the Catholic Church that marriage is a lifelong partnership between one man and one woman. (Read: 3 Must-See Documentaries About Pope Francis)
Staunch Supporter of Equality
Despite the criticisms and mixed interpretations, one thing remains clear about Pope Francis: He has always advocated for a more progressive and tolerant faith, making him a staunch and vocal supporter of equality, diversity, and civil rights. (Read: Vatican to Celebrate World Mission Sunday Amid Pandemic)
“The problem of intolerance must be confronted in all its forms: Wherever any minority is persecuted and marginalized because of its religious convictions or ethnic identity, the well-being of society as a whole is endangered, and each one of us must feel affected,” he said in his speech in 2013 in a delegation at the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Here are other instances wherein Pope Francis showed his utmost support for equality and civil rights.
#1: When He Took a Stand on Women’s Rights
In 2019, the Vatican released a statement from Pope Francis that says women have legitimate claims to seek more equality in the Catholic Church. (Read: Pope Francis Appoints Six Women Leaders to Vatican Economic Council)
“A living church can look back on history and acknowledge a fair share of male authoritarianism, domination, various forms of enslavement, abuse and sexist violence,” Pope Francis said. “With this outlook, she can support the call to respect women’s rights, and offer convinced support for greater reciprocity between males and females, while not agreeing with everything some feminist groups propose.”
#2: Whenever He Fosters a Dialogue Among Faiths
According to Pope Francis, interreligious dialogue is an important way to counter fundamentalist groups as well as the unjust accusation that religions sow division. He has denounced the fundamentalist mentality which “we cannot accept nor understand and cannot function anymore.” (Read: A Look Into the Pope’s Relationship With World Leaders)
Even when he was then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, he has always promoted understanding among men and women of different religious traditions in the city of Buenos Aires and the world.
#3: When He Denounced the Discrimination of Migrants and Refugees
Pope Francis has repeatedly denounced “the globalization of indifference” and has always reminded that Catholics cannot be indifferent to the tragedy of isolation, contempt, and discrimination experienced by migrants and refugees.
“We cannot remain insensitive, our hearts deadened, before the misery of so many innocent people. We must not fail to weep. We must not fail to respond,” he said during the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees in 2019. (Read: Cardinal Tagle washes the feet of migrants and refugees)
During the same event, he reiterated his call to welcome and give hospitality to migrants and discarded people by inaugurating a 20-foot tall bronze, three and a half-ton sculpture, on the left-hand side of St. Peter’s Square. The sculpture depicts 140 migrants and refugees from different cultures and historical periods, including indigenous migrants, Jews fleeing from Nazi Germany, Poles escaping from communism and Syrians and Africans fleeing from war, poverty and famine.