2014-01-06 Vatican - The Director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi has issued an explanatory note following extensive debate in the Italian media after the publication by the Jesuit journal Civiltà Cattolica of a conversation between Pope Francis and religious superiors on November 29th. Many comments focused on gay unions.

In his note, Fr. Lombardi says in his conversation with the religious superiors, the Pope took up the consideration that the situation in which young people and children today are educated is very different from the past because they live in many difficult family situations: with separated parents, new “anomalous” unions, and "sometimes even homosexual unions and so on."

“Education and the proclamation of faith,” notes Lombardi, “of course cannot ignore this reality and must be attentive to the welfare of future generations, affectionately accompanying them in their current context,” so that they will not react negatively to the faith.

Several Italian media reported on this very “general conversation on the educational role of the Church November 29th,” comments Lombardi, who notes that only “in recent days” has the question has been raised in the debate regarding the recognition of civil unions of same-sex couples .

The topic was quite obviously “forced” Fr. Lombardi observes, “so as to appear in some cases as a manipulation.” Speaking of an "openness to gay couples " is paradoxical, Fr. Lombardi states, “because the Pope's speech is overall general (in nature) and because even the small concrete example made by the Pope about (a girl who is sad because her mother’s girlfriend does not love her ) alludes to the suffering of children ...”

The Pope had “absolutely not expressed” his opinions on a debate that was ignited in Italy one month later, Fr. Lombardi says, and “those who remember the positions he expressed earlier in Argentina during similar debates know that they were completely different from what some people are now trying surreptitiously to attribute to him.”