NBC Enthusiastically Oversells Pope Francis’ Decision To Bless Same-Sex Couples

MRC Latino | December 19, 2023
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LESTER HOLT: At the Vatican, an important shift by Pope Francis in recognizing same-sex couples. Molly Hunter reports. 

MOLLY HUNTER: Tonight, a radical step of inclusion. Pope Francis giving his permission for Catholic priests to bless same-sex couples, a change of perception if not doctrine and reflective of Francis's own pastoral vision. 

FRANCIS X. ROCCA: Pope Francis deals in big picture, broad brush. He sends a broad message. 

HUNTER: The new declaration is a landmark step signaling the church's welcoming of the LGBTQ community. But the document signed by Pope Francis stresses that the blessing of same-sex couples is not the same as a marriage sacrament in the eyes of the church. 

ROCCA: I'm sure many people won't be satisfied with this. They would think that anything short of marriage, anything short of equality is offensive. And on the other hand, some people see this as an incremental step. 

HUNTER: The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement, "Each of us needs God's healing love and mercy in our lives." 

WOMAN 1: It's an overdue decision but I'm glad that it's been made. 

WOMAN 2: I think that's a great step forward. I think that's wonderful news, to be honest. 

MAN: Long overdue. You know, if Jesus said love was love, then love is love, isn't it? 

HUNTER: The door now open for so many who have not always felt welcome, thanks to an aging pope still sparking controversial discussions. 

ROCCA: I think it will be taken as a step toward eventually allowing marriage. That’s not what the Vatican is saying, but that’s truly the way it will be perceived by many people.

HUNTER: Molly Hunter, NBC News.