[The update is below the original post which has not been changed]
First of all, Pope Francis’ remarks that have been recently published by the media are clearly not an act of the Magisterium, but seemingly a response from an interview in a movie/documentary.
The following is what has been published regarding the Pope’s words on this matter:
“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”
I think that we all would agree that all human persons have a right to be part of a family and not to be expelled from it or from society. We all have the dignity of having been created by God in His image and likeness.
Here comes the part that is causing controversy:
“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered.”
“I stood up for that”
We don’t know what type of “civil union law” Pope Francis meant. The whole context of the conversation is not presented (at least as of this writing).
Now, some critics opine that Pope Francis’ remarks (which, by the way, are not presented in full context in a video) contradict the CDF document called: Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons.
I wouldn’t be so fast to arrive at that conclusion.
In # 10 we read:
“When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth. If it is not possible to repeal such a law completely, the Catholic politician, recalling the indications contained in the Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, “could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality”, on condition that his “absolute personal opposition” to such laws was clear and well known and that the danger of scandal was avoided. This does not mean that a more restrictive law in this area could be considered just or even acceptable; rather, it is a question of the legitimate and dutiful attempt to obtain at least the partial repeal of an unjust law when its total abrogation is not possible at the moment.”
If a law in favor of recognition of homosexual unions pretending to make them at the level of “marriage” is already in force and is not possible to repeal such law at the moment, a Catholic legislator could licitly support a proposal that limits the harm of such law. For example, a law where homosexual persons can live as brothers and sisters and receive certain benefits. Such proposal may not be the ideal, but it is aimed at limiting a greater harm where homosexual persons can live as husband and wife. As the CNA article which I’ll post below explains, Pope Francis has said before that he opposes laws that redefine marriage. Our dignity as human persons must be respected but Pope Francis has not said that he approves homosexual acts.
When Pope Francis says “create” it implies “come up with”, “new”, a new civil union law, or a law that was not done before, or a law that has not been talked about before, or a different one.
These types of proposed laws that a Catholic may licitly be in favor of in order to restrict a greater harm are not limited to homosexual unions but can also be applied in other areas of moral issues.
In this context, Pope Francis has not changed Church’s doctrine in the least.
For those who post what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches on homosexuality (#’s 2357 to 2359), which is fine, do not forget to also post what the same Catechism teaches on Church’s authority:
“The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone….”
Anyone cannot give an AUTHENTIC interpretation, it is SOLELY entrusted to the Magisterium. It continues:
“Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.” This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.” – (# 85).
Is a dogma of Faith that the Church indefectible and that the Pope has the gift of Truth and never-failing faith (Vatican I) (Luke 22:32). Never means that not even for an instant the Pope can err to a degree of heresy, apostasy, idolatry or any other grave error.
Have Faith in Christ by having Faith in His Church, a Church where the Vicar of Christ is the visible head.
Recommended article from CNA: What did Pope Francis say about civil unions? A CNA Explainer
—[The following is an update based on my response in the comments section – October 26, 2020]—
Pope Francis’ absolute opposition to homosexual “marriage” is clear and well known. He has clearly taught several times that marriage is between a man and a woman and that we cannot change that [i]. Further, in his magisterial document Amoris Laetitia he taught:
“… there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family” – (#251).
In the SAME video (that was edited by the media) the Holy Pontiff also said that it is an incongruence to talk about homosexual marriage (See video [In Spanish] and this article by Fr. Matthew P. Schneider commenting on the video).
Therefore, his proposal of civil cohabitation (convivencia) law (in context for those who have been thrown out of families just for the fact of having homosexual orientation – which is what he was talking about in the video) is not a scandal and cannot remotely be analogous to homosexual “marriage”.
The scandal is not being created by the Pope, but by those bloggers, speakers, especially by the clergy who calumniate the Pope, rash judge him and promote rebellion against the Holy Pontiff.
We have to keep in mind that the Pope is not a next door student to whom we can teach and correct him at every turn. The Pope has the special help of the Holy Spirit when he teaches, even non-infallibly. The following I posted in a different article, but I’ll post it here again with some additions:
It is important to keep in mind that the Holy Father is our teacher. As Pope St. Pius X teaches in his Catechism:
“62 Q. How should every Catholic act towards the Pope?
A. Every Catholic must acknowledge the Pope as Father, Pastor, and Universal Teacher, and be united with him in mind and heart.”
“Every” Catholic. That includes Bishops.
“52 Q. Why is the Roman Pontiff the Vicar of Jesus Christ?
A. The Roman Pontiff is the Vicar of Jesus Christ because He represents Him on earth and acts in His stead in the government of the Church.”
The Holy Father deserves much respect for that. We need to treat him with reverence.
“53 Q. Why is the Roman Pontiff the Visible Head of the Church?
A. The Roman Pontiff is the Visible Head of the Church because he visibly governs her with the authority of Jesus Christ Himself, who is her invisible Head.”
The Popes governs the Church –> With the authority of Jesus Christ Himself.
Anyone who belittles, ridicules, rebels, undermines (and the like) our Universal Teacher, does the same to Jesus Christ.
This goes in line with the teaching of Vatican I that the Pope has the gift of Truth and Never-failing faith. IF the Pope can err gravely to the extent of heresy or the like, then the teaching that “every Catholic MUST acknowledge him as Teacher and be united with him in mind and heart” makes no sense and would be false. Or that the Pope governs the Church “with the authority of Jesus Christ Himself” would be incongruent or false too. Therefore, the teaching that the Pope has the gift of truth and never-failing faith cannot be false in any way, shape, or form.
What about our indulgences? – We have to pray for the Popes’ INTENTIONS in order for us to gain indulgences. It is because the Pope’s intentions cannot err gravely. It is the constant teaching of the Church that we have to pray for the Pope’s intention as a requirement to gain partial or plenary indulgences.
We are not in the position to usurp the Pope’s role.
The Pope can exercise the LIVING Magisterium when he wants and come up with new insights. We should not treat the Magisterium only as a set of texts written previously as if with those previous texts we can undermine the Pope’s role. Christ gave the Pope, and the Pope with the bishops in communion with him, the authority to bind and loose, not just to bind and bind.
Lastly, where is our theological virtue of Faith? – If everything has to be explained to us with clarity, then we would not have Faith at all. Have Faith in what the Church has truly taught regarding the Pope (there are many more teachings on the Pope).
Jesus did not go around explaining every detail about His ministry. He spoke in parables many times. He explained the parables with more detail to His Apostles in private (SOMETIMES, not always), but the rest of His disciples had to live with His the parables that He taught only. When many of His followers were grumbling at His ‘Bread of Life’ discourse (John 6:52 ff), He did not explain with clarity or with every detail what He meant by that. Jesus didn’t respond every question, He didn’t respond at the “What is truth?” question by Pilate.
But in general, we have to have Faith in Christ’s Church. The gates of Hell will not prevail against Her and the only person who holds the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven today is the successor of Peter, Pope Francis.
“The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him“ – (CCC# 100).
[i] See CNA and Fr. Matthew P. Schneider’s articles linked in this post.