In a document posted on Wednesday in Rome, Pope Francis called for the enactment of civil union laws for same-sex couples, leaving the position of Vatican doctrinal office and papal predecessors on the issue.

The remarks came in the middle of a section of the article that highlighted pastoral care for those who identify themselves as LGBT.

“Gays have the right to be part of a family. They are children of God and have the right to a family. No one should be excluded, or look bad for that reason,” Pope Francis said in the film.

Following these comments, in an opinion that could have sparked controversy among Catholics, Pope Francis offered his direct attention to civil society on the issue of same-sex marriage.

“What we need to create is a law for the unity of the people, so that they can be legally protected,” the pope said. “I represent that.”

The phrase comes in “Francesco,” an article about the life and ministry of Pope Francis that was shown on October 21 as part of the Rome Film Festival, and is expected to make its first North American show on Sunday. The film tells the story of how Pope Francis addressed social issues and pastoral care for those living.

Participating in interviews with Vatican people as well as Cardinal Luis Tagle and other papal allies, “Francesco” looks at papal advocacy for immigrants and refugees, the poor, his work on the issue of sexual harassment, the role of women in society, and the attitude of Catholics and others to those who identify themselves as LGBT.

The film is about the reach of Pope Francis’ pastoral ministry to those who identify themselves as LGBT, as well as the story of the pope who encouraged two Italian men in same-sex relationships to raise their children in their parish church, in which one of the men said:

“The pope did not mention his views on my family. Perhaps he is following the teachings on this point,” praising the pope for his generosity and encouraging attitude.

The pope’s remarks on civil society come in the middle of that part of the article. Filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky told the Catholic News Agency that the pope had called on civil society during an interview with the pope.

The pope’s direct call to civil unification laws represents a change from the perspective of its predecessors, and from its more cautious positions on public parties in the past.

In his 2013 book “On Heaven and Earth,” Pope Francis did not directly deny the possibility of civil society, but said that laws “incorporating” homosexual and marital relations were “anthropological deficit,” and expressed concern that if homosexuals are given the right to adopt children then there is a high probability of affecting the children. Everyone needs a father and a mother who can help them create their identity.

In 2014, Fr. Thomas Rosica, who was then working in the Holy See press office, told the Catholic News Agency that Pope Francis had not shown support for same-sex civil society groups, after some journalists reported that he did so in an interview that year.

While the proposal of civil unions was being discussed in Italy, Rosica insisted that Francis would not focus on the debate, but would insist on Catholic teachings on marriage.

In 2003, under the direction of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and under the direction of Pope John Paul II, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith taught that “respect for same-sex relationships cannot in any way lead to homosexual consent or legal recognition by parties” of homosexuality.

“The legal recognition of homosexual associations or the equality of marriage not only means the sanction of immoral conduct, and the consequences of making it an example in today’s society, but also conceals fundamental values ​​that are common human heritage. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the benefit of men and women and for the benefit of society itself, “the doctrine stated and claimed that the support of such parties from politicians was” extremely unethical “.

“Even in the far-flung parallel, homosexual unions have not achieved the purpose for which marriages and families deserve moral recognition. On the contrary, there are good reasons to maintain that they are dangerous to the proper development of human society, especially if their impact on society increased.” said the document.

The Vatican press office did not respond to questions from the CNA about the pope’s remarks in the film. While bishops in some countries have not opposed civil society proposals, civil society opponents have long warned that they serve as a legal and cultural barrier to same-sex marriage schemes, permitting fornication, and failing to protect children’s rights raised by mother and father.

Afineevsky trying to explain the Pope’s view of how he knows him on the argument that the film will not please all Catholics. He told CNA on Wednesday that in his view, the film is not only about the pope’s call for civil society, but also about many other global issues. “

“I look at him not as a pope, I look at him as a humble man, a good example for the new generation, a leader for the old generation, a leader for many people not in the sense of the Catholic Church, but in the sense of pure leadership, on the ground, in the streets,”

The author said he began working with the Vatican to make a film about Pope Francis in 2018, and was given the unique opportunity to be close to Pope Francis until the making of the film was completed in June.

 Afineevsky, a Russian-born filmmaker living in the United States, in 2015 was nominated for an Academy Award and an Emmy Award for his work “Winter on Fire,” an article that featured the Ukraine (2013) and Euromaidan (2014) protests.

On Thursday, Afineevsky will be presented in the Vatican Gardens with the prestigious Kineo Movie for Humanity Award, which recognizes filmmakers who present social and humanitarian issues through filmmaking. The award was established in 2002 by the Italian Ministry of Culture.

Rosetta Sannelli, the author of the Kineo Awards, noted that “every trip of Pope Francis to various parts of the world has been recorded in the work of Afineevsky.”

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