Pope Francis, Civil Unions, and Same-Sex Marriage: Theological Reflections

Michael G. Lawler, Todd A. Salzman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This essay examines civil union and same-sex marriage in relation to the Catholic doctrine of heterosexual marriage. It concludes of civil union that it is a civil reality, the concern of civil, not ecclesiastical, authority. It finds in Catholic marriage three bonds between believing spouses, of love, of law, and of Sacrament (upper case), and argues that in same-sex marriage there are three bonds, of love, of law, and of sacrament (lower case). The spouses themselves control the bond of love, a legal authority controls the bond of law, and the belief of the spouses that their marriage is a symbol of the presence of God in the world controls the bond of Sacrament/sacrament. A conclusion of the essay is that the argument of the Church against same-sex marriage is judged to be non-probative by a majority of its members, especially of its younger members, and a change could be possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-21
Number of pages19
JournalIrish Theological Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Religious studies


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