Diocese responds to documentary on Pope Francis

A statue of the Holy Family welcomes visitors to the chapel at the diocesan Pastoral Center in Charleston. (File photo)

CHARLESTON – A secular documentary film about Pope Francis, “Francesco,” has yet to premiere in the United States but it already has people talking because of a film clip in which the pope talks about civil unions for gay couples.

The film is directed by Evgeny Afineevsky. It contains a scene in which the pontiff discusses marriage and maintains that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. However, he also suggests that “civil unions” might be a way to protect legal rights for gay people who are in committed relationships.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston has released a statement in regard to the pope’s reported comments:

“The pope’s reported statement was made about same-sex civil unions in the context of a secular documentary. No one at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston has viewed the documentary in question, nor has the diocese received any communication on this issue from the Vatican. It is worth noting that the Holy Father does not use secular documentaries to offer definitive teaching on matters of faith and morals. This reported statement has not altered the teaching of the Church on the sacredness of marriage.”

“Francesco” will premiere in the United States on Oct. 25 as part of the Savannah Film Festival.