Does Pope Francis Support LGBT Civil Unions?

The Catholic blog Millennial is reporting today on a string of stories in U.S. and Latin America media that, as Cardinal Bergoglio, newly elected pope Francis was for LGBT civil unions before he was against them. Blogger Christopher Hale points to reports in NBCLatinoBuzzfeed, and InfoNews indicating that the former cardinal had seen support of civil unions as a means to prevent the passage of the 2010 marriage equality bill in Argentina. Hale cites NBCLatino’s reference to an interview with Francis’ official biographer, Sergio Rubin:

…Bergoglio was politically wise enough to know the church couldn’t win a straight-on fight against gay marriage, so he urged his bishops to lobby for gay civil unions instead. It wasn’t until his proposal was shot down by the bishops’ conference that he publicly declared what Paulon described as the “war of God”—and the church lost the issue altogether.

While Bergoglio followed the Jesuit practice of obedience in toeing the official line against any formalization of LGBT relationships, the doctrinal flexibility expressed in his initial approach to the issue seems yet another sign that Pope Francis is not wedded (if we may) to the doctrinal and pastoral rigidness of his predecessors. 

Elizabeth Drescher [@edrescherphd] is the author, with Keith Anderson, of Click 2 Save: The Digital Ministry Bible (Morehouse, 2012). She teaches religion and pastoral ministries at Santa Clara University. She is currently at work on Choosing Our Religion: The Spiritual Lives of Religious Nones, a project funded in part through a grant from the Social Science Research Council’s “New Directions in the Study of Prayer” project through the Templeton Foundation. Her website is www.elizabethdrescher.com