CATHOLICISM IS NOT JUST ABOUT RELIGION: Pope Francis was asked about his views on homosexuality during his first interview with a French newspaper since he became pope.
Francis’ comments are likely to provoke some controversy among Catholic conservatives who have long been concerned about his social liberal stance.
Francis has previously called for an end to discrimination against gays and lesbians, a stance that many conservatives, especially those in the Catholic Church, believe is a threat to the church’s teachings.
But his comments this week came in the context of a new pope who is expected to be more liberal on social issues.
“I don’t think this is a new issue for me, I think the Catholic church has been talking about it for a long time,” Francis said in an interview with Le Figaro newspaper.
“We have to be cautious because the changes of the church, the changes we’ve seen in some areas, the new Pope, has been a very important figure for the Catholic churches in many ways.”
Francis, who is a Jesuit and has a Catholic mother, has previously expressed support for same-sex marriage and gay rights.
His comments came after he said that he would like to see gay couples “live together in a marriage, because I think they are human beings.”
“I am a Catholic, and I have been in the church for 50 years.
I have never denied my faith.
But I do not agree with the view that one can have same-gender unions,” Francis told Le Figasso.”
So I don’t agree with that view, and that’s why I do want to live in a society where we don’t discriminate against people.”
Francises remarks come as he faces a backlash from some in the Vatican, which have called for him to reverse his comments.
The pope said last month that he did not agree that gays and lesbian people should be denied access to marriage because of their sexual orientation.
“But the truth is, I believe in marriage, I also believe in the family,” Francis had said.
The Vatican had previously rejected a request from Francis to extend the pontiff’s papacy beyond its current term.
Francises comments come a day after the Vatican opened an inquiry into allegations that a female priest in Argentina sexually abused at least 14 children over a four-year period.
Franciscan Archbishop Antonio Spadaro called for a “fresh start” after the allegations against Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.