Pope Francis I is probably not giving up on marriage being between one man and one woman, but it sounds like he may just be ready to slip away from this particular battle. Pope Francis met with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and it has been reported that the two discussed same-sex marriage. In their lunch together, Pope Francis reportedly stated “and the stability of families founded on marriage.”
Despite the AP’s reporting that Francis “vigorously opposed gay marriage in his native Argentina”, the reality is that Francis has been less concerned with wading into the social battles within nations the way his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI did. While he has held back overall when it comes to these battles, he has still advocated the denial of Communion to Catholic politicians who support same-sex marriage and/or abortion rights.
For his part, Welby has been strongly opposed to a marriage equality bill going through the British Parliament right now. The legislation would grant same-sex couples marriage rights in England and Wales.
The Vatican has noted that Francis was being diplomatic and trying to make his point without being provacative. Unlike his predecessor, Francis has kept a largely low profile and refrained from making headlines around the world.
When Pope Francis was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he tried to get the nation to approve of civil unions instead same-sex marriage, but was overridden by the bishops of Argentina. As Archbishop, though, he called same-sex marriage an “anthropological step backwards. If there’s a private union, then third parties and society aren’t affected, but if they’re granted marriage rights and can adopt, there could be children affected. Every person needs a masculine father and a feminine mother to help them settle their identity.”