Pope: some civil unions ok, no need to change contraception ban

Broad interview

Pope Francis has suggested the Church could tolerate some types of non-marital civil unions as a practical measure to guarantee property rights and health care. He also said the Church would not change its teaching against artificial birth control but should take care to apply it with 'much mercy, he said in a wide-ranging interview published yesterday in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

- Catholic News Service, The Tablet, NCR Online

CNS reports that in the conversation with the paper's editor-in-chief, Ferruccio de Bortoli, the Pope defended the Church's response to clerical sex abuse and lamented that popular mythology has turned him into a kind of Papal superhero. He also addressed the role of the Pope Emeritus Benedict, and the Church's relations with China.

'Matrimony is between a man and a woman,' the Pope said, but moves to 'regulate diverse situations of cohabitation (are) driven by the need to regulate economic aspects among persons, as for instance to assure medical care.' Asked to what extent the Church could understand this trend, he replied: 'It is necessary to look at the diverse cases and evaluate them in their variety.'

The Tablet reports that Pope Francis has said that the Church leadership needs to 'take into account people’s situations' and their ability to adhere to the ban on artificial contraception. Francis praised Paul VI, who authored the encyclical'Humanae Vitae, for defending 'moral discipline.'

But when asked if the Church should rethink its ban on contraception, he replied: 'It all depends on how the text of Humanae Vitae is interpreted. Paul VI himself, towards the end, recommended that confessors show great kindness and attention to specific situations.' He added: 'The question is not that of changing doctrine, but to go into the depths, and ensuring that pastoral [efforts] take into account people’s situations, and that which it is possible for people to do.'

On the subject of the Church's record on tackling the sexual abuse of children by priests, he claimed that 'no-one else has done more' to root out paedophilia. 'The Catholic Church is perhaps the only public institution to have acted with transparency and responsibility. No one else has done more. Yet the Church is the only one to have been attacked,' he said.

NCR Online reports that Pope Francis has marked the first anniversary of his pontificate with a wide-ranging interview touching on his views on a host of topics, including the role of women in the Catholic church, the ongoing clergy sexual abuse crisis, and possible changes to the Church's family pastoral practices.

Published Wednesday simultaneously in Italy and Argentina, the interview seems to find the Pontiff walking a bit of a tightrope - expressing support for Church teachings that have sometimes divided Catholics but also calling for mercy and consideration in their application.


Pope, in interview, suggests church could tolerate some civil unions (CNS)

Pope sees scope for ‘kindness’ and pastoral response to contraception ban (The Tablet)

No need to change Church teaching on contraception, says Francis (The Catholic Herald)

Francis marks anniversary with interview on sex abuse, women, contraception (NCR)

Transcript of Pope's interview with Corriere della Sera (CNA)

Pope defends Church's record on tackling sex abuse (AFP/Yahoo)

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