Pope Francis will issue the biggest pro-LGBTI statement in Vatican history, Gay Star News understands.
The Vatican is preparing to oppose homophobia in a way the Catholic Church has never done before.
The statement is expected in early April.
But it is still unknown of how far the Catholic Church is willing to go.
Biggest pro-LGBTI statement in Vatican history
Vatican sources tell GSN that the Pope is considering one (or more) of three levels in his statement.
Francis may consider calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality worldwide.
Seventy-three countries still have laws that consider being LGBTI a crime.
A statement like this could have a powerful global effect. Court cases in Kenya and Botswana are currently considering removing their anti-sodomy laws. A statement from the Vatican could easily push those cases to victory.
The second, the quoted ‘safest option’, is opposing laws that punish homosexuality with the death penalty.
Pope Francis changed Catholic teachings on the death penalty in August last year.
‘The death penalty is inadmissable… in all cases,’ the ruling said. ‘It is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.’
The pope also said the Church will ‘work with determination for its abolition worldwide’.
Will there be a backlash?
And, finally, the third option is the Vatican may even announce its acceptance for same-sex civil unions.
The Catholic Church will likely never support same-sex marriage, sources within the Vatican say.
An acceptance of civil unions for same-sex couples, however, could be a strong step for LGBTI progress.
But even so, a statement like this from the Vatican would cause outrage among conservative Catholics.
Sources say priests would be free to object to blessing these forms of legal unions.
Christopher Lamb, the Rome reporter for Catholic newspaper The Tablet, confirmed these rumors.
‘I certainly think [the statement] will cover the death penalty,’ he told Gay Star News. ‘That’s what he stands for.’
‘I also imagine the main point will be opposing… any discrimination.
‘It’ll be interesting to see how far it goes in terms of same-sex relationships.
‘The Vatican in the past has strongly been against any form of recognition on civil partnerships. This could change that.’
However, Lamb expects problems for Francis.
‘He’s going to have problems defending civil unions because of the opposition he’s got. But [the Pope’s] position will be there should be legal protections for same-sex couples.’
LGBTI progress in the Catholic Church
Other Catholic bishops have called for blessing civil unions.
Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabruck said last year they are a ‘political reality’.
‘Same-sex relationships are generally classified as a grave sin in the church, but we need to think how we can differentiate,’ Bishop Bode said.
‘Shouldn’t we be fairer, given that there is much that’s positive, good and right in this?
‘Should we not, for example, consider a blessing – something not to be confused with a wedding ceremony?’
Pope Francis has already changed the way the Catholic Church sees homosexuality.
His predecessor, Benedict XVI, called gay people a ‘defection of human nature’.
In contrast, in 2016, Francis said: ‘If a person is gay… who am I to judge?’
Francis has also met with gay Catholics, and urged parents of LGBTI children to not ‘condemn’ them. He has, however, caused controversy with his negative views on transgender people. He has spread misinformation that trans people wish to ‘eliminate gender’ from society.