Filipino bishops defend Pope Francis over support for same sex civil unions

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 27) — Filipino bishops defended Pope Francis for his remarks on approving civil union for same sex couples.

In a statement released on Monday, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) emphasized Pope Francis has no intention of destroying "morals and orthodoxy" rather his words are of a pastor who has not compromised anything about the Church's teachings on marriage and family.

"He just wants to do as Jesus himself did. He valued being kind and compassionate more than being right and righteous," the CBCP said in its statement signed by its acting president Caloocan Bishop Most Rev. Pablo Virgilio David.

The CBCP stressed Pope Francis is aware of the bullying, rejection, and exclusion among homosexuals, having encountered them personally and supported them in their fight to legalize same sex marriage when he was still the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The Filipino bishops echoed Pope Francis' motto of Miserando Atque Algendo, or "wretched but chosen," in making judgments to same sex couples.

"If God could choose a wretched person such as he, why not these people as well? If God does not judge us even when we do stupid things, why will we judge these people?" the CBCP said. "If He who knows them better does not judge them, who am I to judge?"

In a new documentary entitled "Francesco" which was released in Rome on Oct. 21, Pope Francis declared his support for civil unions for same-sex couples for the first time in his seven-year papacy. The Catholic Church has long held the position that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."

"Homosexual people have a right to be in a family. They're children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it," the Pope said in the film as reported by the Catholic News Agency.

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The CBCP likened Pope Francis' support on same sex civil unions to Jesus Christ' understanding of people regarded as "sinners" in the old orthodox Jewish society such as tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers, Roman soldiers, rebels, and the Samaritans.

"He didn't bring them to conversion by judging them, but by loving them, caring for them, being compassionate to them. He was never of the opinion that people who did bad things were to be treated as bad people," the Filipino bishops explained. "He hated the sin but continued to love the sinner."

The Filipino bishops further said in its statement that Pope Francis encouraged a man, who wrote him a letter and raises three children with his homosexual partner, to join the Church despite his fears that he will be rejected because of his present kind of life.

"He is like a loving parent who just would not give up on any of his children. Just because they behave differently, or they live their lives in a manner that he does not approve of, does not mean they are not his children anymore," the CBCP said.

Pope Francis' support on having civil union for same sex couples received mixed reactions in the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country.

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