Mexico City Archbishop Supports Civil Unions in Reuters Interview

The cardinal expressed his support for the pope’s comment in an interview published Friday.

Pope Francis and Cardinal Carlos Aguiar, Archbishop of Mexico, in Vatican City on March 5, 2018.
Pope Francis and Cardinal Carlos Aguiar, Archbishop of Mexico, in Vatican City on March 5, 2018. (photo: CNA / Vatican Media)

MEXICO CITY, Mexico — Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes of Mexico City has said he agrees with Pope Francis’ comments on same-sex civil unions, made public in a recently released documentary.

The cardinal expressed his support for the pope’s comment in an interview with Reuters published Friday. The pope’s comments were published Oct. 21 in the documentary Francesco, in which Francis was seen to call for civil unions legislation to protect same-sex coupes from unjust discrimination. The pope’s previously unpublished remarks were later found to have been made during a 2019 interview conducted by Mexican television network Televisa and cut from the interview before broadcast.

In the documentary Pope Francis said “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that.”

“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 completely agree,” Cardinal Aguiar told David Alire Garcia of Reuters Dec. 11.

Cardinal Aguiar said: “That can’t be. It just can’t be,” adding that “If they decide as a matter of free choice to be with another person, to be in a union, that’s freedom.”

In its 2003 Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith taught that “respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions.”

Even if civil unions might be chosen by people other than same-sex couples, like siblings or committed friends, the CDF said that homosexual relationships would be “foreseen and approved by the law,” and that civil unions “would obscure certain basic moral values and cause a devaluation of the institution of marriage.”

“Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity,” the document concluded.

The apostolic nuncio to Mexico said in October that the Vatican Secretary of State had asked nuncios to share with bishops that the pope’s comments do not pertain to doctrine regarding the nature of marriage as a union between one man and one woman, but to provisions of civil law.

In a 2019 interview, unpublished parts of which were aired in Francesco, the pope commented at different times on two distinct issues: that children should not be ostracized from their families because of their sexual orientation, and on civil unions, amid discussion of a 2010 same-sex marriage bill in the Argentine legislature, which Bergoglio, who was then the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, opposed.

While filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky told CNA and other journalists that Pope Francis made comments calling for the passage of civil union laws directly to him, it later emerged that the comments were actually part of a 2019 interview of Pope Francis conducted by Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki.

It was subsequently revealed that several sentences spoken by the pope in the documentary were spliced together, out of context, from the 2019 interview.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that those who identify as LGBT “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God‘s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.”

The Catechism elaborates that homosexual inclinations are “objectively disordered,” homosexual acts are “contrary to the natural law,” and those who identify as lesbian and gay, like all people, are called to the virtue of chastity, and called to holiness.