Guam Archbishop on Pope comments regarding same-sex unions: ‘It does NOT alter Church teaching’

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Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes will bless 79 comfort crosses on the altar during the 12 noon All Souls Day Mass Monday, Nov. 2, 2020 at the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagatña. (PNC file photo)

The Archbishop of Agana issued this statement Friday morning:

National media yesterday reported that Pope Francis made the following comments as part of a new documentary, Francesco: “Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God. You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.” – AP

I will address this issue with our Catholic faithful by way of a pastoral letter shortly to provide guidance and minimize confusion that I’m certain has arisen. However, to immediately respond to questions by our Guam media, I issue this statement:

First, it’s important to note that the comments attributed to the Pope are from a documentary — NOT a papal pronouncement. I regard it similar to what he says when he lets reporters ask him questions on his flights to and from whatever country he has visited. Which is to say, it has very little ecclesiastical weight. It does NOT alter Church teaching.

In his papacy, the Holy Father has historically expressed great compassion and concern for our brothers and sisters who struggle with same-sex attraction. Rightfully so. However, he has repeatedly affirmed Church teaching on marriage, that marriage as designed by God, is a union of a man and a woman. I emphasize that the Catechism of the Catholic Church has not changed with respect to the Sixth Commandment.

United in matrimony, a man and woman cooperate with Our Creator in the miracle of life, procreation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:  1601 “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.”84

When it comes to our relationships with persons who struggle with same-sex attraction, God is the one to judge, the Holy Spirit is the one who convicts our hearts toward repentance and our role is to love all sinners into holiness.

(News release from the Archdiocese of Agana) 

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