New Delhi: “Francesco,” a newly released documentary on the life and ministry of Pope Francis, has made headlines across the globe, as the film contains a scene in which Pope Francis calls for the passage of civil union laws for same-sex couples.

 A major section of international media reported that Pope Francis has given his support to  same-sex civil unions by his remarks in an interview for the documentary released in Rome on Wednesday and analysts observed that Pope’s stand is likely to further enrage his conservative opponents. After he was elected pope in March 2013, Francis has sought to adopt a more inclusive tone towards LGBT people in his public statements.

   After the media reports father James Martin, a prominent Jesuit who had argued that the church should be more welcoming to LGBT people, wrote on Twitter: “Pope Francis’s support for same-sex civil unions is a major step forward in the church’s support of LGBTQ people. It is in keeping with his pastoral approach to LGBT people, including LGBT Catholics, and sends a strong signal to countries where the church has opposed such laws.”

  Responding to the reports a spokesperson for António Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations and a devout Catholic, said the pope’s comments were “a very positive move”.

  The Ozanne Foundation, which advocates for LGBT equality in religious settings, also welcomed the pope’s comments, saying: “This will bring hope to millions of lesbian and gay couples around the world, and will enable them to know that they have the pope’s blessing to be in a family, and indeed to have a right to a family.

 “His words of comfort show a deep pastoral understanding of the pain that many LGBT [people] have gone through, and provide a significant challenge to all those who see their faith as a reason to discriminate against LGBT people”, it said.

   But, as pope’s comments have raised various questions about his latest stand on same-sex marriage, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) came up with clarification on the Pope’s comments in the documentary, later. “Some have suggested that when Pope Francis spoke about a “right to a family,” the pope was offering a kind of tacit endorsement of adoption by same-sex couples. But the pope has previously spoken against such adoptions, saying that through them children are “deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God,” and saying that “every person needs a male father and a female mother that can help them shape their identity.” says a detailed article written by JD Flynn in CNA.

 The article says that Pope Francis said nothing about gay marriage in the documentary. “The topic of gay marriage was not discussed in the documentary. In his ministry, Pope Francis has frequently affirmed the doctrinal teaching of the Catholic Church that marriage is a lifelong partnership between one man and one woman.”, its says.

 “While Pope Francis has frequently encouraged a welcoming disposition to Catholics who identify as LGBT, the pope has also said that marriage is between a man and a woman and the family is threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage and that efforts to redefine marriage threaten to disfigure God’s plan for creation,” the article pointed out.

  According to the article, while Pope Francis has previously discussed civil unions, he has not explicitly endorsed the idea in public before. “While the context of his quotes in the documentary is not fully revealed, and it is possible the pope added qualifications not seen on camera, an endorsement of civil unions for same-sex couples is a very different approach for a pope, one that represents a departure from the position of his two immediate predecessors on the issue”, says.

  “In 2003, in a document approved by Pope John Paul II and written by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith taught that “respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions,” it pointed out.