Pope Francis has surprised in gay marriage talks by proving he is a more diplomatic figure than his predecessors.
The leader of the Catholic Church deftly avoided speaking against gay rights while speaking to the head of the Anglican Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.
Francis, the only pope in history to become leader when he was the cardinal of a country with same-sex marriage, said he wanted to work with Welby to promote family values ‘based on marriage’.
As the Associated Press reports, Francis said he hoped the two could collaborate in promoting the sacredness of life ‘and the stability of families founded on marriage’.
Most importantly, Francis did not say marriage should be based on a union between a man and a woman, which is how Benedict XVI and John Paul II repeatedly defined marriage.
Vatican officials have said the talks were a diplomatic attempt to make his point without saying, for example, gay people were a ‘defection of human nature’.
It is believed Francis has not made any headline-making statements on homosexuality and same-sex marriage due to the divisive, violent nature of the debates in France, which has seen widespread protests.
Earlier this week, the pope admitted there was a ‘gay lobby and corruption’ in the Vatican.
Before he became the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis deeply opposed same-sex marriage in Argentina.
When he was speaking out against equal marriage, he compared same-sex couples adopting to child abuse and called gay couples marrying a ‘destructive attack on God’s plan’.
Before his resignation, Benedict XVI said same-sex marriage is unnatural and poses a threat to ‘justice and peace’.
On another occasion, Benedict accused gay and trans people of ‘manipulating their God-given gender to suit their sexual choice’ and ‘destroying the very essence of the human creature’ in the process.
John Paul II said homosexual acts was ‘gravely sinful’ and described same-sex marriage as a ‘new ideology of evil…which attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man.’