Vatican walks back Pope’s call for civil unions for same-sex couples: ‘right to family’ doesn’t mean forming families
Pope Francis has refused to comment on a claim that he personally ignored sexual abuse allegations against a senior clergyman. (WMOF2018/MAXWELL/AFP / Handout)

The Vatican is walking back remarks made by Pope Francis in a documentary where he called for civil union laws to protect same-sex couples. Claiming the Pope's remarks were taken out of context and edited inaccurately, the Vatican says the Pope's remarks about gay people having a “right to a family” only meant acceptance by their own families, The Hill reports, not a right to form families, and not a right to marriage.

Archbishop Franco Coppolo offered "some helpful points" to religious leaders. In an explanatory note posted to Facebook he insists the Pope was not calling for change within the Catholic Church, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) reports.

"The note said that in the first quote, the pope was referring to the right of homosexuals to be accepted by their own families as children and siblings," Reuters adds. "Some saw the comments as homosexuals having a right to form families."

In a new documentary released late last month the Pope can be seen saying, “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.”

“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” he also said.

The Vatican has been hostile to LGBTQ people for centuries. And while Pope Francis at times has appeared to be supportive, he too has a long history of attacking the community.

In 2014, for example, Pope Francis called same-sex marriage “anthropological regression,” as NCRM noted last month in our report on Francis's latest remarks.

He's said same-sex marriage threatened to “disfigure God’s plan,” called marriages of same-sex couples “disfigured,” and announced support for constitutional bans on marriage and adoption by same-sex couples.