The Canadian Press
VATICAN CITY — Questions swirled Thursday about the origins of Pope Francis’ bombshell comments endorsing same-sex civil unions, with all evidence suggesting he made them in a 2019 interview that was never broadcast in its entirety.
The Vatican refused to comment on whether it cut the remarks from its own broadcast or if the Mexican broadcaster that conducted the interview did. And it didn’t respond to questions about why it allowed the comments to be aired now in the documentary “Francesco,” which premiered Wednesday.
In the movie, which was shown at the Rome Film Festival, Francis said gay people have the right to be in a family since they are “children of God.”
“You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this,” the pope said. “What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”
Those comments caused a firestorm, thrilling progressives and alarming conservatives, given official Vatican teaching prohibits any such endorsement of homosexual unions.
While serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis endorsed civil unions for gay couples as an alternative to same-sex marriages. However, he had never come out publicly in favour of legal protections for civil unions as pope, and no pontiff before him had, either.
One of Francis’ top communications advisers, the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, insisted the pope’s comments were old news, saying they were made during a May 2019 interview with Mexican broadcaster Televisa.
“There’s nothing new because it’s a part of that interview,” Spadaro told The Associated Press as he exited the premiere. “It seems strange that you don’t remember.”
But Televisa didn’t air those comments when it broadcast the interview — nor did the Vatican when it put out its recordings of it. The broadcaster has not commented on the intrigue.
The Vatican frequently edits the pope in official transcripts and videos, especially when he speaks on sensitive issues. Yet some version of the footage was apparently available in the Vatican archives, which were opened to filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky.
Televisa has not confirmed that the comments were made during its interview, but the scene of the documentary is identical to the Televisa interview, including the yellow background, a chair in the corner and slightly off-centre placement of the chain of Francis’ pectoral cross.
The official 2019 Vatican News transcript of that interview, as well as the official Vatican edit, contains no such comment on the need for legal protections for civil unions. The official edit does include his comments on the need for gay people to feel they are part of a family, as he has said previously.
Further muddying the waters is the fact that Afineevsky, when pressed by reporters late Wednesday, said the pope made the comments to him directly, through a translator, but declined to say when.
When The Associated Press interviewed Afineevsky on Oct. 14, the director was asked if he realized at the time that Francis’ comments were going to grab headlines.
Afineevsky dodged the question about the origin of the quote and seemed to not appreciate its significance. But he said that he hoped journalists would take more away from the film.
“If journalists will be focusing on this movie only on that, then it will be a pity,” he said. “But I think that’s one of the issues that our world needs to understand, that we’re all equal.”
The head of the Vatican communications branch, Paolo Ruffini, refused to speak to reporters who attended an award ceremony Thursday in the Vatican gardens for Afineevsky, and the director himself kept his distance.
The Catholic Church teaches that gay people must be treated with dignity and respect but that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.” A 2003 document from the Vatican’s doctrine office stated the church’s respect for gay people “cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions.”
Doing so, the Vatican reasoned, would not only condone “deviant behaviour,” but create an equivalence to marriage, which the church holds is an indissoluble union between man and woman.
That document was signed by the then-prefect of the office, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI and Francis’ predecessor.
Afineevsky, who is gay, had expressed surprise after the premiere that the pope’s comments had created such a stir, saying Francis wasn’t trying to change doctrine but was merely expressing his belief gay people should enjoy the same rights as heterosexuals.
On Thursday, he declined to take any further questions and sought to put attention on the main issues dealt with in the film: climate change, refugees and poverty.
“I am so proud that finally ‘Francesco’ is on its way to the road to change hearts and minds,” he said at the prize ceremony in the Vatican gardens. “Finally, I am happy that I can bring voices from the Rohingya refugees, refugees from Syria, the voices of victims of sexual abuse, voices from different points from different corners of the world.”
Associated Press journalist Trisha Thomas contributed.
Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press
Can't solve economy issue without solving COVID-19, says professor – KitchenerToday.com
It’s a classic case of trying not to put the cart before the horse.
There’s no doubt the economic disaster is caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but an associate political science professor at Brock University indicates you can’t solve the economic crisis without dealing with the health crisis first.
“You can’t have a strong functioning economy if you’ve got the disease running rampant in the community, it just can’t happen,” Blayne Haggart told The Mike Farwell Show on 570 NEWS.
He said economists have been clear on the issue from the beginning, advocating for financial support on the health side and figuring out later how to pay for it.
Haggart said overall, while we started off the pandemic well and saw numbers begin to drop, not enough was done to prepare for fall and winter, such as adequate investments in contact tracing and testing.
He said when it comes down to it, just the mere presence of the virus is causing the economic problem, not the restrictions related to it.
“People are not going to go into shops (as per usual), even if there’s no government intervention, because people don’t want to die,” Haggart added.
“Some people will, but a lot won’t, so businesses are going continue to be depressed up until the moment where the disease finally hits a breaking point, where we’ve got to basically close things down, or everybody gets sick.”
“That’s the kind of roller coaster that we’re on, and the key is to get off it. The longer you wait, though, the more costlier it is to get off the roller coaster.”
Reimagining the global economy for a post-COVID-19 world – Brookings Institution
When the COVID-19 pandemic sent the global economy into a deep recession, it exposed structural weaknesses in economic institutions and highlighted the need for reform. The challenges countries face today are daunting, but this moment should be recognized as an opportunity to build back more sustainable and inclusive economies. David Dollar is joined by three Brookings experts—Eswar Prasad, Marcela Escobari, and Zia Qureshi—to discuss their forward-looking policy proposals for a post-COVID-19 world.
Prasad, Escobari, Qureshi, and Dollar are all contributors to a new report, “Reimagining the global economy: Building back better in a post-COVID-19 world.”
Singapore upgrades third-quarter GDP, sees economy returning to growth next year – TheChronicleHerald.ca
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore’s economy contracted much less than initially estimated in the third quarter due to gradual easing of COVID-19 lockdown measures and authorities expect the city-state to bounce back to growth next year from its worst recession.
Gross domestic product (GDP) fell 5.8% year-on-year in the third quarter, the ministry of trade and industry said on Monday, versus the 7% drop seen in the government’s advance estimate.
Analysts expected a 5.4% contraction, according to the median of 10 forecasts.
The government said it now expects full-year GDP to contract between 6.5% and 6% versus its prior forecast for a 5% to 7% decline. The country is still facing the biggest downturn in its history.
The economy is expected to grow 4% to 6% next year.
“The recovery of the Singapore economy in the year ahead is expected to be gradual, and will depend to a large extent on how the global economy performs and whether Singapore is able to continue to keep the domestic COVID-19 situation under control,” the MTI said in a statement.
The economy grew 9.2% from the previous three months on a seasonally adjusted basis, compared with the 13.2% contraction in the second quarter. The bounce marked the end of a “technical recession”, as it followed two preceding quarterly contractions.
(Reporting by Chen Lin and Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Sam Holmes)
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