Pope Francis encouraged bishop to speak out against same-sex adoption

While Pope Francis has earned plaudits for his open-minded comments on homosexuality, he’s still more in line with other Catholic leaders on LGBT issues.

According to a spokesman, the pope was shocked by legislation in Malta that would permit adoptions by same-sex couples.

But that shouldn’t be surprising, say LGBT activists in the pope’s native Argentina.

“This case, demonstrates yet another time -- as we have repeatedly said -- that there is no will from Pope Francis’ part to change the doctrinal position of the Catholic Church with respect to the family and the lack of recognition of gay or lesbian parents,” said Esteban Paulón, president of Argentina’s LGBT Federation.

Paulón said the church was once again interfering with civil rights that should be a secular matter, noting that Pope Francis had opposed marriage equality in Argentina as cardinal of Buenos Aires.

Damien Thompson, a Daily Telegraph columnist, said then-Cardinal Mario Bergoglio had denounced same-sex marriage as diabolically inspired but endorsed civil partnerships as a lesser of two evils.

Bishop Charles Scicluna of Malta condemned the legislation to permit adoption by same-sex couples, saying during his Christmas homily that God’s own son was raised by a man and woman, and said he’d discussed the measure with Pope Francis during a Dec. 12 meeting.

“We discussed many aspects … and when I raised the issue that’s worrying me as a bishop he encouraged me to speak out,” Scicluna said.

Paulón pointed out that Pope Francis, who was named person of the year by both Time magazine and The Advocate, had remained silent on the increasing persecution of LGBT people in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe.

“Unfortunately there was not a single word from Pope Francis on India’s (supreme) court decision, the restrictive law in Uganda and prohibition of homosexual propaganda in Russia,” Paulón said.

Thompson said the media may have been too quick to applaud the pope for his acceptance of LGBT people.

“What we can say, I think, is that the media read far too much into the pope's ‘who am I to judge?’ comment about gay Christians in his impromptu interview on the way back from Rio,’ Thompson said. “If Time magazine gave Francis its Person of the Year on the basis of his relaxed attitude to homosexuality, it should have done its homework more thoroughly.”

[Image via Agence France-Presse]