Statement of the Bishops of South Dakota Regarding recently reported remarks of the Holy Father

On October 21, 2020, media reported on a 20-second video clip from a Spanish-language documentary film about Pope Francis. In the film, the Holy Father was shown stating, as translated into English, “Homosexual people have a right to be part of a family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable because of it. What we have to create is a [convivencia civil]. That way they are legally covered.” Later reporting indicated this video was compiled from several separate segments in a 2019 interview the Holy Father gave to a Mexican journalist. This footage had never before been played publicly.

Yesterday, we became aware of several clarifications offered at the direction of the Holy Father through his representatives (apostolic nuncios) in each country. The nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, confirmed that the pope’s responses to two separate questions were edited and published as a single response, without surrounding context. Archbishop Pierre observes that the first remark – that persons experiencing same-sex attraction have a right to be party of a family, and ought not “be thrown out or be made miserable” – should be read as pastoral counsel to families with children having such experiences, so that their families may receive “respectful pastoral guidance, so that those who manifest a homosexual orientation can receive the assistance they need to understand and fully carry out God’s will in their lives” (quoting from Amoris Laetitia (2016)). (continued in full statement below)