Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna of Malta told The Sunday Times of Malta that Pope Francis was “shocked” by Malta’s civil unions bill, which allows gay couples to adopt children.
Even though Pope Francis has publicly challenged the Catholic Church’s preoccupation with marriage equality and gay adoptive parents, saying that there are other matters that require the Church’s attention, Scicluna says that he privately “encouraged” the bishop to “speak out” against Malta’s civil unions bill.
According to Scicluna, who met with Pope Francis on December 12 and spoke to The Times of Malta about the meeting, the pope was “quite shocked by the issue of civil unions and gay adoptions,” and reiterated that “gay adoptions are ‘un rigresso antropologico’ [an anthropological regression].”
The pope’s encouragement led to Scicluna’s use of his annual Christmas homily as a platform for promoting his political opinion on the civil union bill, which was introduced by the new Labour government following the 2013 elections in Malta.
In his sermon, the auxiliary bishop referenced the manger scene in the bible as evidence that God wants children to be raised by parents of the opposite sex.
“In the upbringing of his Beloved Son, God himself ordained and chose to be subjected to the wisdom and law of creation according to which a baby should be reared by a mother and father, by a couple made of a man and a woman and not by a couple made of woman and woman or a couple made of man and man,” said Scicluna, according to Malta Independent’s translation of the sermon.
The comments made by the pope harken back to his time serving as Cardinal in Argentina, when he advocated for civil unions as a “lesser of two evils,” though the state eventually passed full marriage equality despite his opposition.