Somebody at the Vatican apparently didn't want the world to hear Pope Francis' thoughts on same-sex civil unions. It emerged Thursday that the pontiff's statement of support for civil unions, which kicked off a major controversy when new documentary Francesco premiered Wednesday, was made during a 2019 interview with Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki but cut from the version that was broadcast. Sources tell the Times that the interview was filmed with Vatican cameras and the pope's remarks on civil unions were removed from the footage the Vatican's media office sent to broadcaster Televisa.
In the cut remarks, Francis said gay people "have the right to be in a family." "What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered," he said, contradicting Vatican doctrine that respect for gay people "cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions." Francesco director Evgeny Afineevsky, who told the Times Wednesday that Francis made the remarks in an interview with him, is believed to have found the raw footage in the Vatican archives. In an interview with the AP, the director declined to discuss the quote's origin or its significance. "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." (Read more Pope Francis stories.)