Pope Francis has called for a return to the “past” and an “authentic” relationship between church and state in the wake of a landmark Supreme Court ruling that ruled in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide.
Speaking at the end of his weekly homily at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City on Friday, the pope told his audience that “the church and society have to move on from the past and have a deeper relationship with the church and its values.”
He said that the church has to go from “pastoral teaching” to “pastors” and that “we have to be able to have this authentic, loving, authentic, and authentic relationship.”
While the pontiff did not explicitly address the gay marriage ruling, he was clearly critical of the Supreme Court decision.
The pope noted that a decision against gay marriage “is a decision that has to be followed, because it is the law of God,” and that it “sends a message to the whole world that we have to do what we must do.”
“The pope has a very strong position, a very bold position.
He has always stood up for the human dignity of the person, the dignity of marriage,” said Marielle Deutch, the director of Catholic education at Catholic University of America, a Jesuit school.
The pope made no mention of the gay rights ruling, which has been condemned by the Vatican, but his words were consistent with a call to restore a “past of love” to the Catholic church.
“When we look back on our own history, we have had a very hard time,” he said.
“We have a long way to go,” the pope added.
“But I believe we have a good path forward.”
The church is not the only institution that has faced criticism in the aftermath of the court ruling.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday also ruled that a gay couple can legally marry in the U.K. but have no right to legally adopt.
The Vatican is trying to clarify its stance, and the pope said he was willing to “put a few things in context” and “let the dialogue take place” with his fellow church leaders.