Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island has become one of the first US Catholic leaders to criticise Pope Francis’ recent endorsement of same-sex civil unions.
Tobin noted in a statement earlier this week that the Pope’s remarks clearly contradicted “what has been the long-standing teaching of the Church about same-sex unions” and that “the Church cannot support the acceptance of objectively immoral relationships”.
"Individuals with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God and must have their personal human rights and civil rights recognized and protected by law. However, the legalization of their civil unions, which seek to simulate holy matrimony, is not admissible”, the bishop added.
The view was shared by Ed Mechmann, an official spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, who directly decried the Pontiff’s same-sex-related statement in a piece titled “Dealing with Papal Mistakes”, which he published on the archdiocese’s website.
“This is really important, because like every other human being, popes make mistakes. I think it’s fair to say that every single pope who ever lived has made mistakes. Nobody is error free. But it does us no good to ignore these lapses when they happen, or try to explain them away as if they don’t matter”, Mechmann underscored.
He insisted that the Pope had “made a serious mistake” by calling for support of same-sex unions, something that Mechmann said runs counter to the Catholic Catechism, which states that homosexual acts are immoral and can never be justified.
His piece was published shortly after a new documentary called “Francesco” premiered at the Rome Film Festival on Wednesday, in which Pope Francis said in an interview that “homosexuals have the right to be in the family” and that “hey are children of God and have the right to a family”.
According to the Pope, “No one should be excluded. What we need to do is pass a law on civil unions so that homosexuals can be legally protected”.
Francis had never made public remarks in favour of same-sex civil unions as Pope, even though he endorsed such unions as an alternative to same-sex marriages while serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires between 1992 and 2013.