Pope Francis during the interview with CBS Pope Francis during the interview with CBS 

Pope: Church open to all, but 'no' to blessings of same-sex unions

In an interview with the U.S. broadcaster CBS, Pope Francis emphasizes that the Church welcomes everyone, while clarifying aspects regarding blessings authorized by "Fiducia Supplicans". He also criticizes surrogacy, condemns ideologies and reiterates his appeal to warring nations to find negotiated solutions to conflict.

By Salvatore Cernuzio

Pope Francis reiterated his vision of an open Church and the principle of inclusiveness, central to his pontificate, during an interview with Norah O’Donnell, Director of CBS Evening News. Recorded at Santa Marta on April 24 and aired in part on the program "60 Minutes."

"The Gospel is for everyone," he said, including all sinners, and warned that if the Church sets up “customs checkpoints”, it ceases to be the Church of Christ.

Regarding the issue of blessings of same-sex unions mentioned in the doctrinal document Fiducia Supplicans, he clarified that while blessings are for individuals, same-sex unions cannot be blessed because it would go against “the law of the Church”.

Surrogacy is a business

Regarding homosexuality, the journalist recalled the Pope‘s affirmation that "homosexuality is not a crime." "No. It is a human condition" he commented. And while condemning surrogacy, which he said "has become a business, and this is very bad. It is very negative." The journalist pointed out that he for some women, such as those who are ill, it could be the only hope.  "It could be. The other hope is adoption," the Pope replied, urging not to bypass the moral principle and suggesting adoption as an alternative, and adherence to moral principles.

Criticism from “conservatives”

Responding to a question on criticism from some conservative bishops in the U.S., Pope Francis said “A conservative is someone who clings to something and does not want to see beyond. It is a suicidal attitude because one thing is to take tradition into account and consider past situations, another is to lock oneself in a dogmatic box."

Appeal for peace

In the interview, conducted in the run-up to World Children's Day on May 25 and 26 in Rome, the focus shifted to children, starting with those suffering in war: in Gaza, in Ukraine, to the children who "have forgotten how to smile," the Pope repeated. Thus he again voiced his appeal to countries at war: "Everyone, stop. Stop the war. You must find a way to negotiate peace. Strive to achieve peace. A negotiated peace is always better than an endless war... Please, stop. Negotiate."

Condemnation of ideologies

Focusing on the conflict in Israel and Gaza, university campus protests, and rising anti-Semitism, Pope Francis reiterated that "Every ideology is bad, and antisemitism is an ideology, and it is bad. Every 'anti' is always bad. You can criticize one government or another, the Israeli government, or the Palestinian government. You can criticize as much as you want, but not be 'anti' a people. Neither anti-Palestinian nor antisemitic."

Migrants and Indifference

Addressing the suffering of migrants, Pope Francis condemned widespread indifference, likening it to Pontius Pilate’s hand-washing: "Many out there see what happens, the wars, the injustices, the crimes... It’s indifference. Please, we must let our hearts feel again. We cannot remain indifferent to these human tragedies. The globalization of indifference is a very bad disease."

And commenting on the news that the state of Texas is trying to shut down a Catholic organization at the border with Mexico offering humanitarian assistance to undocumented immigrants "pure madness." "Closing the border and leaving them there is madness," the Pope emphasized. "The migrant must be welcomed. Then we will see how to manage them. Maybe they need to be sent back, I don't know, but each case must be considered humanely."

No tolerance for abuse

The interview also touches on the issue of abuses within the Church, a crime the Pope repeats that "cannot be tolerated." At the same time, he acknowledged that more needs to be done, because "unfortunately the tragedy of abuse is enormous" and it must be ensured that it not only gets punished but never happens again.

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20 May 2024, 15:00