LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Catholics across the world are re-evaluating their beliefs after comments made by Pope Francis surfaced supporting same-sex civil unions. The statement comes from a newly released documentary “Francesco” where the Pope also encourages Christians to accept same-sex families into the church. This breaks away from centuries of teachings that exclude the LGBTQ community from the Catholic faith.
The reaction was instantaneous, with #Pope trending on Twitter. Wednesday morning, a documentary focused on Pope Francis was released. In the film, the Pope calls for same-sex civil union laws and encourages Catholics to accept same-sex families as “children of God.” This historic move comes after centuries of excluding homosexual Catholics – it’s the first time a Pope has taken a stand.
“With the Catholic Church, things move very slowly,” Rep, Tippi McCullough said. She was skeptical when she first heard the news. “Well, that’s great,” McCullough thought, “but what exactly does that change?” She says although the move is a positive one, it does little to change the years of hurt the LGBTQ community faces at the hands of the Church. “They don’t have the comfort… of having a religion that the church can give you.” But she’s hopeful the move is a step in the right direction for more universal equality.
“For there to be some possibilities for the church to move on this issue,” McCullough said, “I think would be, I think it’s a big deal.”
Many people shared their opinion. One comment we received on our Facebook page from “John” says, “Praise God! 2 people that love each other should be able to marry and receive all the benefits that hetero couples do. Including adoption.” But opinion is split – “Larry” responded, “You’re insane. The Bible, God, everything normal and wholesome is strictly AGAINST homosexually.”
McCullough sees it as a second chance to accept an excluded group, and a way to start again. “There…can be a time where the Catholic Church just recognizes that dignity, once again, of its LGBTQ community.”
In the documentary, the Pope also condemns separating families at the U.S./Mexico border and speaks out against the building of a border wall. We reached out to the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock for comment, but have not heard back.