FROM ARCHBISHOP A. HEBDA
Pope Francis’ remarks giving qualified support to civil unions of same–sex couples are not his first as pope. While affirming Church teaching that marriage can only be between one man and one woman (2019 Interview), he, along with others who defend traditional marriage, has shown openness to civil unions as a kind of middle way that would allow persons of the same sex in long-term relationships to have legal benefits without a civil redefinition of marriage itself. While Church teaching on marriage is clear and irreformable, the conversation must continue about the best ways to reverence the dignity of those in same–sex relationships so that they are not subject to any unjust discrimination (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2358). The Pope seems to be emphasizing that we are called to find ways of extending a true sense of family to those who find themselves on the margins, so that they might experience the security of belonging and the joy of encountering the life–changing mercy of Jesus Christ.