By Louis Knuffke
Pope Francis will elevate a pro-LGBT Brazilian archbishop to the rank of cardinal.
The pontiff has named 21 new cardinals to be elevated to the sacred college at a consistory in August. Included among them is Leonardo Steiner, O.F.M., secretary general of the National Confederation of Bishops of Brazil, the archbishop of Manaus, and auxiliary bishop of Brasília, the nation’s capital, who has publicly supported homosexual civil unions.
“There needs to be a dialog on the rights of shared life between people of the same sex who decide to live together. They need legal support from society,” Archbishop Steiner told O Globo Magazine in a 2014 interview.
According to the pro-LGBT New Ways Ministry, Steiner also said the following:
“You could say that the Pope is echoing what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about gay people: ‘They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.’ It’s understood that accepting them with respect, compassion and sensitivity means walking and being with the homosexual person and helping them understand, deepen and guide their condition as a son or daughter of God’ …
” ‘Acceptance and walking with them are necessary to reflect on what fits or doesn’t fit the reality experienced by homosexual people and what, in fact, is rightfully theirs, for their own good and that of society.’“
According to New Ways Ministry, Steiner also indicated that the Church is open to change while at the same time saying that “truths of faith don’t change.”
“The Church isn’t the same through the ages. It seeks answers for the present time, using the Gospel as the illuminating force of its action…The Church is always seeking to read the signs of the times, to see what must or must not change. The truths of faith don’t change.”
Steiner’s words came shortly after the Archdiocese of São Paulo issued a statement of support to participants in the São Paulo Pride Parade, promising the Church’s solidarity with Brazil’s LGBT community. Nevertheless, the comments made Steiner the only bishop at the time to speak in support of such civil unions after Pope Francis did so in March if that year.
In 2014, Pope Francis said the Church needed to “consider” such options as civil unions.
“Civil states want to justify civil unions in order to regulate (normalize) different arrangements of cohabitation; – prompted by the necessity of regulating (normalizing) economic aspects among people, for example in providing health insurance or benefits. This consists of different kinds of living arrangements which I wouldn’t know how to enumerate with precision. We must consider different cases and evaluate each particular case.”
Again in October 2020, Pope Francis supported homosexual civil unions. “What we have to create is a civil union law,” the Pope said in the documentary, “Francesco.” “That way, they are legally covered.”
However in 2003, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) under the direction of Pope St. John Paul II, issued a clear and firm statement on the obligation of “all Catholics” to reject the legalization of homosexual civil unions. The document, titled “Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons,” states that “all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions.”