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One of the Catholic Church’s highest-ranking bishops backs Pope and urges families to stand by their LGBT+ kids

Patrick Kelleher December 12, 2020
Carlos Aguiar Pope Francis

Carlos Aguiar threw his support behind Pope Francis' remarks around same-sex civil unions (TIZIANA FABI/Lisa Maree Williams/Getty)

One of the Catholic Church’s highest-ranking bishops has backed Pope Francis’ remarks about gay people and has urged families to stand by their LGBT+ children.

Cardinal Carlos Aguiar, archbishop of Mexico City, told Reuters that he backed Pope Francis’ comments in support of same-sex civil unions.

Pope Francis made global headlines in October when he threw his support behind same-sex civil unions in the Italian documentary Francesco – however, it later emerged that the comments actually came from a 2019 interview with Mexican television station Televisa.

While Pope Francis’ comments did not change official Catholic Church doctrine, it was broadly seen as a history-making shift in the typically anti-LGBT+ organisation’s approach to queer people.

Aguiar, who has campaigned against same-sex marriage and abortion rights, has now thrown his support behind Pope Francis.

“I completely agree,” the long-time ally of the pontiff told Reuters.

He also said he agreed with Pope Francis that families should not reject LGBT+ children.

“That can’t be. It just can’t be,” he said.

“If they decide as a matter of free choice to be with another person, to be in a union, that’s a freedom,” Aguiar added.

Pope Francis fell short of supporting same-sex marriage.

There was global jubilation when the pontiff voiced his support for same-sex civil unions in the Italian documentary in October – however, it later emerged that Francis didn’t go as far in his support for same-sex unions as many would hope.

In the documentary, Pope Francis said: “Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.”

He added: “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that.”

When the complete transcript of Francis’ interview emerged, it became clear that the Pope was not quite as supportive of LGBT+ rights as it first appeared.

He went on to voice his view that marriage between a man and a woman is fundamentally different to a union between two people of the same gender.

“I am a conservative,” he said when asked about his view on church teachings.

“I’ve always defended doctrine. And it is curious about the law on homosexual marriage – it is a contradiction to speak of homosexual marriage.”

Pope Francis has had a chequered history with the LGBT+ community since he became leader of the Catholic Church in 2013.

In 2013, he made global headlines when he called on the Catholic church to “show mercy, not condemnation” to gay people – representing a stark shift in tone from his predecessors.

But in 2019, he told a Spanish newspaper that parents who see signs of homosexuality in their children should “consult a professional” – a comment that was considered by many to endorse conversion therapy.

Meanwhile, he has been staunch in his opposition to trans identities, comparing them to nuclear war and genetic manipulation in 2015.

In 2019, the Vatican released a document claiming that “gender ideology” is a “move away from nature”.

More: Carlos Aguiar, Pope Francis

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