I have repeatedly said that it is high time that pope Francis took at least some concrete steps to back up his feel-good rhetoric and he must be reading this blog because today he announced that he was willing to support civil unions for same-sex couples under restricted circumstances.
Pope Francis suggested the Catholic Church could tolerate some types of nonmarital civil unions as a practical measure to guarantee property rights and health care.
“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.”
Before people get too giddy, he also said that “the church would not change its teaching against artificial birth control but should take care to apply it with “much mercy.””
This is a very small step but we have to remember that this is the way that a huge bureaucratic institution like the Catholic church that is weighted down with rigid doctrinal traditions changes course, almost imperceptibly. See how long it took them to come round on Galileo and Darwin.
So I take this as a good sign.