Several senior American bishops have spoken out against Pope Francis for his endorsement of same-sex civil unions, saying that his views “do not correspond to the constant teaching of the Church.”
Francis said in a recent interview for a documentary that “homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family” and noted that he “stood up for” a “civil union law” to protect same-sex couples.
Cardinal Raymond Burke, a frequent critic of Francis, condemned the pope’s remarks in a statement.
“Such declarations generate great bewilderment and cause confusion and error among Catholic faithful, inasmuch as they are contrary to the teaching of” the Church, Burke said.
“They cause wonderment and error regarding the Church’s teaching among people of good will, who sincerely wish to know what the Catholic Church teaches,” he added. “They impose upon pastors of souls the duty of conscience to make fitting and necessary clarifications.”
Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, another outspoken critic of Francis, added that “the Pope’s statement clearly contradicts what has been the long-standing teaching of the Church about same-sex unions.”
Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley said in a statement that “Pope Francis strongly and consistently teaches that marriage is between a man and woman for a lifetime and that this is God’s plan for having and raising children.”
He adds, “The Pope’s endorsement of civil unions is not an endorsement of homosexual activity. Just as the Church does not campaign against civil laws that allow for common-law marriage or second marriages that are not sacramental, even though such arrangements can be in violation of the laws of the Church, the Holy Father recognizes that in civil society there can be cogent reasons to enact such laws providing for civil unions which are not the same as the institution of marriage.”